Growing up, we did not eat out much, especially compared to today.  Every night, the four of us sat around the dinner table, in the same chairs, at the same time, with the same prayers, and with the same food.  No, we did not eat the same thing every night, but we had a very traditional repertoire of meals; there was always the exact same recipe of chili, spaghetti sauce, pork chops, grilled chicken etc.  Luckily, while she never pulled out fancy bells and whistles for her cooking, my mom is far from a bad cook, so these familiar meals where usually welcome and enjoyed.

Cranberry cake was one of these traditions.  I do not know where this recipe even came from, but it was a staple in my mom’s fall/winter kitchen.  As soon as cranberry season rolled around you could find bags stocked in the refrigerator and freezer.  This cake (or quick bread is probably a more correct description) is simple and extremely easy to make.  My mom made cranberry cake for family, guests, and many potlucks and despite being such a simple (and kind of unusual) dessert, has always been loved by everyone.

Now I keep this recipe tucked away in a very unorganized, overstuffed, cookbook nestled between the chili and spaghetti recipes.  And, first sight of cranberries at the grocery store, I snag a bag and whip up this recipe.  Someone has to take on the job of carrying on traditions and my belly is happy to take on the challenge.

Cranberry Cake

1 bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and bad cranberries removed

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease a 13×9-inch baking sheet.

Put milk and butter in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  Stir and repeat until butter is melted.

In a mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add cranberries and stir to coat with flour.  Fold milk mixture into flour mixture until just combined.  Spread batter into baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool on rack.  (I think this cake is best at room temperature).