When my husband and his dad returned from the Egegik River in Alaska a few weeks ago, I expected boxes full of frozen fish. What a surprise to find a large bag of low-bush cranberries! It was a labor of love from my father-in-law as he rarely has his fishing pole out of the water. These tiny little berries were in full swing and he couldn’t help but collect several handfuls around camp. As soon as I saw the berries I knew what I wanted to do, Cranberry Loaf Cake, from the cookbook, Savor the Flavor of Oregon.
This cookbook was a wedding gift from my friend Cara, given to us over 26 years ago. It was one of the few cookbooks I took to the Arctic of Alaska when we moved there as newlyweds. Picking these tiny cranberries was one of the first excursions I went on with my students in the village and Cranberry Loaf Cake was the first recipe I ever made with them. This recipe worked out particularly well, as we had no access to eggs or fresh milk in the tiny village of Point Lay.
It was a delight to see my sons enjoy this sentimental treat and my father-in-law enjoyed his payoff with a large slice. The buttery sweetness of the sauce balances with the tartness of the cranberries making each bite a flavor explosion. In the past 26 years, I have enjoyed many variations of this recipe. Diced rhubarb is a great substitute for the cranberries and a teaspoon of orange or lemon zest is a nice addition. The sauce is amazing and can be drizzled over everything from bread pudding to pancakes. To lower the fat content a bit, use 1/2 the amount of butter, it’s not as rich but is still delicious.
The cookbook, Savor the Flavor or Oregon, contains several family favorites and is a cookbook I still use often.