Today, my better-half and I gathered with 39 Dutch oven friends in north Texas for a Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG) and a fabulous White Elephant gift exchange. We had such a great time! Before I tell you about the gift exchange, I want to share our recipe …. and how we burned it.
Cranberry Pecan Tea Cake (Inspired by Kitchen Confidante)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature and as soft as possible
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 cups roughly chopped fresh cranberries
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped pecans
- powdered sugar, garnish
Prepare a 12″ camp Dutch oven by spraying it liberally with Pam. Cut a round of parchment paper to cover the bottom of the oven (optional but I highly suggest this.)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well!!! If you have a sifter, put the dry ingredients together and run it through.
In another big bowl, beat together the softened butter and sugar until light, creamy, and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Beat well.
Fold in 1 cup of dry ingredients and then 1/4 cup of buttermilk. Repeat until buttermilk and dry ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix.
Fold in cranberries and pecans. Do not over mix.
Make a circle of 9 hot charcoals and place Dutch oven over the hot coals. Place 15 hot charcoals around the lid of the Dutch oven.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Rotate the lid clockwise and oven counter clockwise every 15 minutes to avoid hot spots.
Let cool then sprinkle powder sugar on top.
Unfortunately, the toothpick did not come out clean when I took this photo, so we put it back on heat….. and promptly got distracted. Friends to talk to, countless delicious dishes to admire in big black pots, and photos to take…
Yep. The bottom and top were burned by the time this pot made it to the serving table for lunch with our Prairie Dog friends.
Lesson learned. Baking requires careful attention to temperature control. Period. Don’t let friends distract you in interesting conversation. Avoid the temptation to follow your nose to the aroma of your neighbor’s delicious dish. Do NOT pick up your camera to take photos…. of everyone’s food. Pay attention to your cranberry pecan tea cake that is baking in your Dutch oven! Rotate the lid. Avoid hot spots. Do as I say, not as I do.
I love this recipe! If we had paid closer attention to temperature control, it would have been golden brown on top and bottom and baked through perfectly. The fresh cranberries took center stage, bringing bright tart taste and color and supported by a light crumb all around. If you love cranberries, you can easily increase the cranberries to 4 cups or more. If you do, I would increase the baking time a bit, perhaps 5 to 10 more minutes.
We had such a great time with our Dutch oven friends! I hope you have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!
This recipe is easily divided in half and baked in an 8-inch Dutch oven.