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A big, juicy turkey is the perfect lynchpin to a flavourful dinner with the family as the holidays near.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

For people who like their treats less sweet, this jewel-like spiced cake fills the bill. It keeps a week refrigerated.

Ready time: 1 hour 20 minutes plus cooling time


2 tbsp butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

2 ½ cups fresh cranberries


½ cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground star anise, optional

2/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 375 F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Spread butter on base of pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pat down firmly. Spread cranberries over sugar.

For cake, beat butter and granulated sugar together with an electric mixer about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ginger and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and star anise. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then beat in half the milk. Repeat, finishing with dry ingredients.

Spread batter over cranberry base. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until top is deep brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes on cooling rack. Run a knife around sides of pan to release. Invert onto a serving platter. Let cool fully. Serves six with leftovers.

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