I'm going to give you all the reasons this cake shouldn't have worked.
1. Half way through making the cake I realised I didn't have enough plain flour, and had to complete the amount with self raising flour.
2. Reading the reviews of this cake, many said the cranberry layer sinks a little, so, to ensure it ends up in the middle they suggested that instead of putting half the batter, cranberry layer and then the remaining half of the batter, to put 2/3 of the batter, the cranberry layer and then the remaining 1/3 of the batter. Me, being unable to visually measure, put like 4/5 of the batter as the first layer, and had like 1/5 of the batter to spread on top. Which was not easy and, quite frankly, a pain in the .....
3. After trying so hard to spread the top layer of batter, and somehow managing to barely cover the layer of cranberries, I accidentally dropped a bowl right in the middle of the pan, taking out some of the little batter I had on top.
4. Oh, why does my cranberry layer look like it's sinking rather than being a layer in the middle of the cake? Well, that's because the recipe called for 170 grams of cranberries, and I had 225 grams. 'What's the harm in adding 55 more grams?'. Now, I know that adding 55 more grams means that the cranberry layer gets a bit too heavy and sinks to the bottom.
5. Which means that the jam-my consistency the cranberries becomes sticks to the baking paper and refuses to come of.
6. Which also means the cake has to cool on the baking paper, and the bottom of the cake gets a little soggy.
7. I took out the cake a little too early, so the middle of the cake was a little undercooked.
But this cake, it really worked. I wish I could tell you it turned into a disaster, because that's what I thought it would be, but it was so so good. Even with the soggy bottom and the slight undercooked middle and the stuck to the baking paper situation. There was the crusty top and the sweet cranberry layer and the vanilla cake and it was moist and crunchy and... I would really like a slice right now, but, oh yeah, there isn't a slice left!
Imagine what it could be like if I hadn't made all these mistakes! I actually can't wait to get my hands on more cranberries to make this again. And to be honest, I don't think I, or anyone else who had a slice, would really mind if all those mistakes happened again.
I changed the recipe according to the reviews. I swapped buttermilk for milk, as there were complaints that the cake was a little dry (it wasn't). I upped the vanilla as commenters also said that the vanilla flavor wasn't strong enough, so I used a full vanilla bean (as opposed to only half) and also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract - you know, just to be on the safe side. And, of course, with all the errors above, most of them you probably shouldn't do.
Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake
Adapted from Gourmet
1 vanilla bean
430 grams sugar
170 grams fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
250 grams of flour, plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
115 grams butter, plus 1 tablespoon, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 ml buttermilk (we didn't have any so I made my own mixing the same amount of milk with under a tablespoon of vinegar, and left it for 10 minutes)
Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F). Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan, or grease and line the pan with baking paper, and set aside.
Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Add the sugar and the seeds into a food processor, and pulse to combine, until the vanilla seeds are dispersed. Transfer to a bowl.
Pulse the cranberries with 125 grams of the vanilla sugar, until finely chopped, do not puree!
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the 115 grams of butter and 250 grams of the vanilla sugar on medium high, until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternately n batches, starting and ending with the flour, on low speed, until just combined. Be careful to not over-mix. I used the machine to mix it a bit and mixed the rest by hand, until just combined.
Spread 2/3 of the batter in the pan, then spoon the cranberries over, leaving 1/2 an inch border around it (um, I didn't do this). Top with remaining batter and smooth the top. The batter is quite hard to spread over the cranberries, I did this by spooning the batter in blobs then joining the blobs together.
Blend the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, 55 grams of sugar and 1 tablespoon of butter using your fingertips, until crumbly. Crumble over the cake.
Bake the cake until a wooden pick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the sides begin to pull away from the pan, around 45- 50 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely, crumb side up. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.