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The Perfect Little Tea Cake To Kick Off Fall

Pumpkin isn't its only savory, seasonal flavor.

As we bid adieu to the sweet strawberries and juicy peaches of warmer months, we swing the door wide open and welcome the rich, earthy flavors of fall. Start the season off right with a charming tea cake that uses mild agave syrup to meld together creamy pumpkin and tart cranberries in complete perfection. It's hard to find fresh -- or even frozen -- cranberries except in the fall, so get them while you can (they'll keep in the freezer for months). If you use frozen ones, do not thaw before adding them to the batter.

Pumpkin Cranberry Tea Cake

Recipe created by Mani Niall

 Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

2 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 eggs

1 1/4 c. pumpkin puree

1/2 c. canola or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil

1 c. agave syrup, preferably light

1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries

1 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°. Oil and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans or spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously until blended. Add the pumpkin, oil and agave syrup and whisk until thoroughly combined. 

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Whisk together the dry and wet ingredients until blended. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 1 cup each of the cranberries and walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup each of cranberries and nuts evenly over the tops, pushing them gently into the batter to help them adhere and prevent burning. 

Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the center with a fingertip, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for about 20 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of each pan to loosen the cake sides, then unmold the cakes onto the racks. Let cool completely before serving. 

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