i’ve landed in timmins for christmas, so now it really feels like the holidays. it’s cold af and there’s a coulple feet of snow, but it’s nice to be home. i’m home for a week, which is a long time to be in a town as small as timmins – but my schedule is actually jam packed! a typical week back home looks something like this:
wake up, go to nona’s for espresso and pastries. try and get some work done, but end up gossiping with my aunt for an couple of hours. drink more espresso. realize it’s around lunch time and nona pulls out a “casual” lunch of pasta, meats, cheeses, bread, etc (or my favourite, tortellini in brodo). take a nap. try and do some work but end up watching christmas movies. eat dinner and go to bed by 10pm.
day two: realize i should change out of my pjs and venture out into the world. go as far as tim hortons, pick up a peppermint hot chocolate and a 10 pack of timbits, end up back at home in my pjs. eat, nap, repeat.
the cycle basically continues for the next 4 days, until christmas eve, which is one of my favourite days of the year – when i actually then get dressed and look presentable, if only to hop next door to my nona’s for feast of the seven fishes. which is code for “eat a ridiculous amount of food and get drunk on zambuca with my dad”. (like i said, favourite day).
christmas day is the time i actually get my ass in gear and become a productive human again. i’ve put myself in charge of making dinner, which means i’m back in my groove being a boss ass kitchen lady. i obviously plan my menu way in advance; i’ve ordered a free range turkey from a mennonite farm just outside of town (because i’m extra like that); and get things rolling right after presents are done being opened – this year the first thing on my list is to make this cake for dessert.
i fell in love with frosted cranberries after seeing them around pinterest last year, but never got my shit together enough to make them. this year, i vowed that i would make them as a show-stopping christmas dessert my fam would “oooohh and ahhhhh” over. i knew they’d be super sweet, so i wanted to pair them with a) orange flavours because orange and cranberry are harmonious together, and b) a chill vibes cake that was low on the sugar. i used semolina flour because i love the texture of coarser flours in baking – it gives such a great, dense cake and great crumb. the yogurt keeps it moist, and just a thinnnnn layer of simple buttercream (which is totally optional, i mostly used it as a adhesive for the cranberries so they wouldn’t roll everywhere), adds a hint of extra sweetness.
the result is a pinterest-worthy cake that’s super delish! one that i can’t wait to share with my fam and i hope you do too!
orange semolina cake with frosted cranberries
*recipe adapted from bon appetit
for the cranberries
1 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon orange blossom water (optional)
1 cup fresh cranberries
bring water, orange blossom water, and 1 cup of sugar to a boil in a saucepan. stir until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat.
cool the sugar syrup for ten minutes, then add the cranberries to the saucepan and allow to cool completely. transfer to airtight container and let soak for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
drain the soaked cranberries and let air dry. once dry, toss in remaining sugar, a few at a time until well coated. spread out onto a baking sheet and let dry an hour before using.
for the cake
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled, plus more for pan
1.5 cups coarse-grind semolina flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
zest of 1 large orange, grated finely
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk greek yogurt
3/4 cup whole milk
preheat oven to 350°. butter a 9″ diameter cake pan. whisk semolina, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl. whisk yogurt and milk in a large bowl. mix in dry ingredients, then ¾ cup butter. scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until golden brown and firm, 55–65 minutes. transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. turn a plate over top of pan and invert cake.
let cool completely, then lightly ice with small batch buttercream frosting. top with sugared cranberries. serve!