With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve found I still don’t have the perfect morning-of breakfast. I have a secret wish to have that one amazing sweet bread my kids will make in their homes one day, for their own children on holiday mornings. After playing around with sugared cranberries and cream cheese frosting, I’ve decided they might be the keys to what I am searching for. The tart cranberries and tangy cheese pair well together, especially when perched on a sugar-swirled brioche cake. We all oohed and aahed on first bite.
Orange Brioche Cake with Sugared Cranberries and Cream Cheese Frosting
This will make more cranberries than needed. I like to make extra to add to other baking, or just to nibble on.
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup (297g) granulated sugar, plus 1 cup (198g) to coat
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
One 12-ounce bag (340g) fresh cranberries (about 3 1/2 cups)
Brioche Orange Cake
2 1/2 pounds Brioche Dough (page 300 of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup sugared cranberries
For the Sugared Cranberries
Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat to medium; let simmer until the mixture is reduced slightly, 5-7 minutes. Pour the vanilla into the sugar liquid and stir to combine.
Pour the cranberries into the sugar liquid and let them soak for at least 8 hours and up to 24.
After the cranberries have soaked, place the remaining 1 cup (198g) of sugar in a bowl. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Use a slotted spoon to remove some of the cranberries from the liquid, and coat them in the remaining sugar. Place them on the sheet pan and let them dry.
For the Cake
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Let the dough come to room temperature, and then roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Brush the entire surface of dough with the melted butter, and spread the orange-sugar mixture evenly over the butter. Scatter the cranberries over the dough, and gently press them down into it. Roll up the dough, starting at the long end.
Grease a 10-inch tube pan, and gently place the dough inside it, with the two ends touching.
Let the brioche rise in the pan for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the brioche for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Let the brioche cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully remove it. Let it finish cooling on a wire rack.
When the cake is completely cool, top it with the cream cheese frosting (recipe follows) and sugared cranberries. Best eaten the same day it is made.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon triple sec
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the butter on medium until smooth. Add the cream cheese, and beat again until light. Scrape down the sides and add the triple sec, vanilla, and salt, and mix on low until combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy.