I was having a sloth-like morning. Everything I touched turned to “no”. Didn’t feel like going out, didn’t feel like baking. Three times I started gathering ingredients for recipes and three times I put them away. Most unproductive. I loathe using the phrase “I can’t be bothered”, but that’s how I felt.
Later in the afternoon the apathy lifted and a sudden burst of energy resulted in this lovely loaf which wasn’t even in the running earlier. It does have the air of a “cheer me now” cake so perhaps it was just what I needed. Each slice has little bursts of cranberries and a taste and texture reminiscent of a madeira cake. The icing could be optional but I urge you to spread it on. It adds a crunch, a tang, a touch of sweetness and just makes it look way more special than an ordinary fruit loaf.
This little happy cake is my entry to Sweet New Zealand hosted this month by the delightful Sue at Couscous & Consciousness.
Cranberry, vanilla and yogurt loaf
100g caster sugar
300g Greek-style (or natural) yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
250g standard flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g dried cranberries
for the icing
100g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsp fresh orange juice, sieved
pink food colouring
Preheat oven to 160°C (180°F)
Grease and line a 1kg (2lb) loaf tin.
Cream the butter and sugar in a cake mixer until soft and fluffy (you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times in the process).
Add the yogurt and vanilla and mix on lowest speed until just combined.
Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together and fold gently into the mix in two batches. Add the cranberries and fold in gently (check the cranberries do not stick together in bunches). Do not overmix.
Spoon the mix into the loaf tin. Level the top with a palette knife dipped in a little hot water.
Bake in the oven for approximately 50 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely, then ice.
For the icing
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add enough orange juice to make a smooth consistency, not too runny or too thick. (Add more icing sugar if too runny or more orange juice if too thick). Add a drop of food colouring. I use a skewer for this and dip it into the colouring, adding enough to reach the desired colour. Mix thoroughly until smooth and colouring incorporated. Spread or drizzle over the cake and leave to set.
Adapted from a recipe for sour cherry yogurt cake from Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell.