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Susan S. Yeske: Recipe of the Week

Recipe of the Week: Colorful cranberries are more than decorations


We enjoyed cranberry sauce with our Thanksgiving dinners and will continue to enjoy this native American fruit throughout the holiday season.
The cranberry is perfectly colored to help brighten the foods of the season, and despite its excessive tartness is a flavorful addition to sweet and savory dishes. In addition to sauces, relishes and chutneys, cranberries can be used in a variety of baked goods and cocktails. The sauces can work well with different meats and poultry, especially when the berries are paired with red wine.
We can thank Native Americans for introducing Colonists to the cranberry. Native Americans used it in their pemmican (kind of a dried meat power bar) with honey as a sweetener to offset the tartness. While the settlers didn’t know it back then, cranberries are a great source of nutrition and contain a variety of vitamins including C, E, K, B1, B2, B3 and B6. All of these add up to a good source for antioxidants.
Most of the cranberries grown in the United States are used for juice, but there are still plenty of fresh berries in the markets this time of year. Bake a loaf of cranberry bread, cookies or muffins for the holiday season, or make a cake like this one, shown below, from And if you are a cranberry fan, make sure you buy a few extra bags to freeze. You never know when you might be in the mood for cranberry sauce with your roast chicken or cranberry muffins.

Cranberry Christmas Cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
¾ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour * see note below for gluten-free alternative
12 ounces fresh cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5 to 7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl.
2. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.
3. Spread in a buttered 9x13-inch pan. (This pan is my favorite!) Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. (I baked mine for 43 minutes.)
4. Let cool completely before cutting into small slices. I cut mine into fairly small pieces, about 1”x2”, so that they could be easily eaten at a party.
* Gluten-Free Substitution: 1¼ cups brown rice flour + ½ cup potato starch + ¼ cup tapioca starch + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum may be substituted for the amount of all-purpose flour listed in the ingredients above.