Thanksgiving Files: Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

In preparation for next week, I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite Thanksgiving ideas. Also, to see all of them, click on this link: Thanksgiving Files.

This is by far the most requested dessert I make.  This time of year every dinner I attend, this is what I am asked to bring. I’ll be making two tonight to take to various get-togethers  this week.  Easy, easy, easy and foolproof, but always a beautiful presentation.  If you’re looking to wow, try this one.  From 2009:

Cranberries are on sale!  Buy them now, because I’ve got some great cranberry recipes coming up.  I’m starting with this one, because if you’re going to be a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner, this is the dish to take.  It’s pretty to look at and it’s both sweet and tangy, perfect after a big dinner.  You’ll wow everyone with it and it’s foolproof to make.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries, chopped*
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp orange zest (rind)
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk


  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 tbsp orange juice (more as needed)
  • 2 tsp butter, softened

8×8 glass baking dish & mixing bowl

Preheat oven to 350°

Melt 3 tbsp of butter and pour into baking dish, spread to cover bottom and up the sides. Add ½ cup sugar, mix with butter on bottom of pan. Add cranberries & walnuts, spread over bottom of pan. Cream remaining butter & sugar, add vanilla, egg, orange zest, mix well. Add flour, baking powder & milk, mix until well blended, don’t over mix. Pour batter over cranberry mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown and center bounces back at the touch. Invert on plate. Let cool.

Topping: Mix together butter, orange juice & powdered sugar, pour over cake and serve.

* if you don’t have a food processor, you can leave cranberries whole.


H is for Harper and Hawaiian Aloha Bread

I have a boatload of cousins. If I counted, I would bet I’m easily up to near 40. I love them all, they are all great people. Really, can’t even come up with one that I don’t adore. As happens, they grew up, married (equally wonderful people) and started having really cute kids. I swear to you the only reason I even have a Facebook account is so I can see all the pictures of all these cute kids. Because as is life, we all see too little of each other.

So a week or so ago, I was very happy to see my cousin Eric’s post about helping his daughter bake some treats for a class project, it sounded very tasty, so of course I was happy to share.

From Eric:

Harper and I made Hawaiian Aloha Bread for her first letter in her name potluck tomorrow

Hawaiian Aloha Bread

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 medium mashed bananas
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts(i used pecans)
  • 1/2 crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350. Cook time 1 hr

Mix sugar, butter and eggs in a bowl. Using the mixer on low, add in the banana, milk, orange zest, and extracts. In another bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the creamy mix and stir until moist. Fold in the coconut, nuts and pineapple. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 hour. 🙂

Each year Eric’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge participates in the Shop with a Cop program, taking kids who might not otherwise have Christmas, shopping. There’s a raffle to raise money and they use that money for the shopping trips. I love when the photos start to pop up on Facebook of the event. It really is a wonderful thing the department does. For more information on the program and the raffle, click here.

My cousins  – and brothers – Bret (left) and Eric (right)

I told you my cousins were awesome.

Thursday Night Menu: Caramelized Salmon and Citrus Salsa

It’s been a dizzying week, so I almost forgot is was Thursday.  I’m hoping for a much quieter Friday and relaxing weekend.  Anyone have any exciting plans?  I’ll be gardening, cycling and vegging out to DVDs and a good book.  Pretty typical for me, not much excitement here.  Some nice flavors tonight, a spicy sweet salmon with a tangy salsa served with rice.  If you’re lucky enough to have a crop of fresh peas, well it gets even better.

On the board tonight:

  1. Caramelized Salmon
  2. Citrus Salsa
  3. Rice
  4. Buttered Peas
  5. Pears

Caramelized Salmon

  • 4-6 oz Salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

large bowl

In bowl, warm honey until completely melted. Stir in zest, pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Dip the flesh side (not skin side) of each fillet in honey mixture, coating them. Broil (set rack at second level from the top) or grill (use a grilling pan or foil with vegetable spray – salmon tends to stick) flesh side up, for approximately 5 minutes, until fish flakes easily.

Citrus Salsa

  • 8 oz crushed pineapple
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 oranges, peeled, sectioned & chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp limejuice

large bowl

Drain pineapple and reserve ¼ cup of juice for salsa. Combine pineapple, juice and remaining ingredients, toss well and refrigerate until served.

Menu serves 4

Shopping List:

  • 4 (6 oz) Salmon fillets
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 jalapeno
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 16 oz peas
  • 4 pears

Also: limejuice, honey, orange zest, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, butter