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Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake

Festive Cranberry Orange and Walnut Layer Cake

Total Time: 75mins

Makes 3x15cm | 6in cakes

Dry ingredients:
330g | 12.6oz plain flour
330g | 11.6oz caster sugar
60 | 2oz walnuts, ground to a powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
––––––––
Wet Ingredients:
3 large eggs
200g | 7oz cold unsalted butter, cubed
200ml | 7fl oz whole milk + 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
140g | 10oz fresh cranberries, halved if big + 1 tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
 
For the frosting
300g | 10.5oz full fat mascarpone 
300g | 7oz whipping cream
200g | 7oz icing (powdered) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
about 1/2 jar cranberry sauce to fill 
handful fresh cranberries to decorate
1 tbsp egg white 1tsp sugar 
granulated sugar to frost the cranberries
 
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line your cake tins. Dust with flour.
  2. Grind the walnuts to a fine powder in a food processor or blender. 
  3. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed to combine.
  4. Add the cubed butter and mix for a couple of minutes until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Gradually add the milk, vanilla extract and orange zest and beat together on low speed. Once the milk has been incorporated, increase the speed and mix together for a few minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Toss the cranberries in the flour to coat, then fold into the batter. 
  8. Divide the batter between the prepared tins and level. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the tops are firm and springy. Cool completely before frosting. You may need to level the layers before assembling the cake.
  9. Whip the mascarpone, vanilla and icing sugar on low speed until combined. Increase the speed and beat together until smooth. Gradually add the cream and whip until the frosting is smooth and you have firm peaks. Take care not to over whip. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a plain round tip.
  10. Pipe a ring of frosting around the rim of the bottom layer and fill the centre with cranberry sauce. Top with the second layer and repeat. Add the final layer.
  11. Smooth some frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Leave some of the cake showing through to achieve the 'naked' cake look, or do a crumb coat then chill the cake, then add another layer of frosting and smooth over the cake.
  12. Use a fork to whisk 1 tbsp egg white with 1 tsp of sugar until frothy. Brush over the fresh cranberries and leave to dry slightly. Sprinkle with granulated sugar to achieve the 'frosted' look. Arrange over the top of the cake (do not eat!).