Brown Butter Cranberry Gingerbread Cakes with Brown Butter Caramel Sauce

  • For the Syrup and Fruit
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • For the Cake
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice or apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • For the Brown Butter Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat until the foaming subsides and the butter browns. Pour the butter through a cheesecloth or paper coffee filter and set aside.

In a clean pot, bring the water, sugar and corn syrup to a full boil over high heat without stirring. Continue to boil the sugar, uncovered, and brushing the sides of the pot occasionally with water, until an amber colour. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the cream (watch out for the hot steam). Whisk in the brown butter and the vanilla. Cool to room temperature and store chilled.

The sauce can be used warm or at room temperature and will keep refrigerated as long as the expiry date on the cream used in it.

Makes about 1 ½ cups.

For the Assembly

Preheat the oven to 170°C F. Grease six 5-ounce ramekins and place them on a baking tray.

Pulse the cranberries with the granulated sugar in a food processor until coarsely chopped and set aside. Heat the butter in a saucepot over medium heat until the foaming subsides and it begins to brown. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and stir until bubbling and smooth. Divide this between the ramekins and spoon the chopped cranberries overtop.

For the cake, melt the butter in a clean saucepot over medium heat until the foaming subsides and the butter browns. Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses and cranberry or apple juice and bring to a simmer while stirring. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl. Stir in the grated ginger and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Add this to the warm butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the egg and whisk in thoroughly. Pour the batter into the ramekins and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate.

To prepare in advance, prepare the syrup, fruit and batter and chill until ready to bake and serve.

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