Since I started working for the Energy Department, I’ve been pretty lucky in the sense that I’ve gotten to take several trips to the White House grounds, either for work or for tours. And, as much fun as photographing events in the EEOB next door is, the tours are particularly exciting — and honestly, visiting the White House grounds never gets old.
Between fall and winter, I was able to score tickets to two White House East Wing tours, thanks to awesome coworkers (who are the well-connected ones that actually get invited to these things). The most recent adventure was right before I left for California for Christmas — most of my office took a trip together for the Holiday tour, which is extra special because you’re allowed to take photos. They had the GWU a capella group singing Christmas carols and Michael Jackson tunes, and Christmas trees galore. It. Was. Gorgeous.
I’m heading back in a few weeks for bowling in the basement — something my Norwegian friends could not believe was a “thing.”
Next time, I’m bringing my camera.
Anyway, this recipe comes from the adorable little book that the White House gave out to everyone that attended the Holiday Tour — it’s filled with illustrated pictures of Bo and Sunny running around the White House. And, at the end, this recipe for cranberry upside down cake is featured, straight from the White House Pastry Kitchen. Honestly, make this cake while you can still find cranberries in at the grocery store. If you’ve missed the season, then sub in any sort of fruit — peaches, apples, cherries, you name it. It’ll all taste pretty amazing.
Someone tweet these photos to Michelle. I’d die of happiness if she saw it.
Cranberry Upside Down Cake, from the White House Pastry Kitchen
Caramelized cranberry topping:
- 1/4 cup butter (half of a stick)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1-2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1.5 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup milk
- Cooking tools: Cast iron skillet or cake pan (use parchment paper if using a cake pan), three mixing bowls, silicone spatula.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a cast iron skillet (mine is 9.5 inches wide), melt the 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cranberries, making sure the cranberries are coated in the butter and sugar. After a minute or two, turn the heat off, and let them sit while you prepare the cake batter.
- In one mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- Using a stand mixer (or any electric mixer), combine the 1/2 cup butter with about half of the sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, mix in the orange juice, and then add the egg yolks, one by one.
- Gradually, mix in the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar, until they hold a firm peak. Then, gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
- Once completely incorporated, pour the cake batter into your cast iron skillet, covering the cranberries.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, when a toothpick comes out clean. After baking, let the cake cool on a wire rack (or the grate of your stove) for an hour or two. When you’re ready to serve, run a knife along the edge of the cake, and flip onto a plate.