I love cranberries. I never liked them much as a kid, but then again, I don't really remember encountering them in any other way than canned cranberry sauce. It was the first Thanksgiving meal that I put together from the Bon Appetit magazine that led me to make cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries. I didn't actually eat that much of it, but I made it the next year too... and for that matter for almost every year since then.
I also branched out into cranberry orange breads, and a couple of cranberry upside down cakes. All delicious. There is just something about the super tart cranberries combined with oranges in a cake or bread that I find incredibly appealing. Adding maple to the mix just increased the yumminess factor.
I made this at Chris' parents house and they only had self-rising corn meal which is pre-mixed with flour, which meant that it wasn't as grainy as it would have been with the stone ground corn meal I have at home. It tasted great though. The layer of cake soaked up a lot of the liquid from the cranberry maple mixture, leaving a layer of nice dry cake, a layer of "pudding cake", and a layer of cranberry sauce.
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup pure maple syrup (grade B or grade A dark amber)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
Pinch plus 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Crème Fraîche, softly whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Whisk egg and sugar in another medium bowl. Whisk milk, melted butter, and vanilla into egg mixture. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; whisk to blend.
Pour warm cranberry mixture into 11x7x2-inch or 8x8x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Pour batter over.Bake cake until golden and cranberry mixture bubbles at edges, about 28 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.
Serve cake warm topped with crème fraîche, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.