I’ve only joined the ranks of citrus-loving dessert folk in the last couple years. Before that, I wouldn’t be caught dead with things like Lemon Meringue Pie, Orange Chiffon Cake, Lime Meltaways, and even Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars on any dessert plate of mine.
I don’t know how it happened, but now I can tolerate just about any citrusy treat you want to send my way, and I’ll even go out of my way to indulge in some of them, like those Starbucks’ bars.
So I figured instead of making Cranberry Bliss Bars an indulgence, why not remake them into something nourishing?
When I was originally developing this recipe, I was aiming more for bars rather than cake, but it came out cake-like and was so darn good I had to share it as-is.
The cake is moist and dense, probably a bit denser than most cake, so it’s really more like a cross between bars and cake. It’s aromatic with mahlab (a spice made from the ground seeds of the St Lucie cherry) and orange zest, and isn’t too sweet. The coconut butter frosting is rich and slightly sweet, adding a lovely hint of coconut to the overall cake experience.
Do you ever eat cake for breakfast? Confession: this cake may have been my breakfast a couple days this week. ;)
- 2 cups (225 g) almond meal
- 1/4 cup (30 g) arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup (75 g) coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mahlab (optional)
- 1/4 cup (30 g) dried cranberries, chopped (See Note)
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) canned unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh-grated orange zest
- Coconut Butter Frosting:
- 1/2 cup (110 g) coconut butter, slightly softened
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 tablespoons raw local honey
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch fine salt
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped (see Note)
- Coconut Oil Glaze:
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 teaspoon canned unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon raw local honey
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- For the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8 by 8-inch pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper so that it hangs over the sides.
- Whisk together the almond meal, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar, salt, baking soda, mahlab (if using), and cranberries in a large bowl. Whisk together the coconut milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and orange zest in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry all at once and stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 24 to 26 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
- For the frosting, beat together all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate until the mixture is slightly stiffened, about 6 to 8 minutes, and then beat again until fluffy. Spread onto the cooled cake and immediately sprinkle on the cranberry topping (if using). Refrigerate until the frosting stiffens a bit, about 10 minutes.
- For the glaze, whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate a few minutes until the mixture stiffens slightly, then whisk again and drizzle the glaze on top of the cake. Let the glaze set before serving.
- Store leftovers wrapped in the fridge because the frosting will melt at warm room temperature (about 73F). Let the cake sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving so the frosting can soften.