Happy first day of December, FoodLover!

It's the time of year for fun indulgences and how better to start off a few weeks of sharing some of my favorite holiday recipes than with cake!

This recipe was a surprise hit at our Friendsgiving gathering last month. In fact, one FoodLover said she will always choose chocolate over anything else. ALWAYS. But! She'd choose this cake over chocolate. Sounds like one heck of an endorsement to me!

Two of my favorite holiday flavors, orange and cranberry, which may be unexpected in a cake, come together in this beautiful dessert. And although it's easy to assemble the result is striking with the gorgeous rich color of the cranberries so it's a perfect end to a festive meal. Spiced Cranberry-Orange Cake with Marscarpone Frosting

FILLING * 1 pound fresh cranberries * Juice of one orange (zest before juicing!) * 1.5 cups sugar

Bring all ingriendts to a boil in a small sauce pan, reduce heat and simmer 20 mins. Allow to cool in refrigerator over night.

CAKES In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (make sure water does not touch bottom of bowl), melt: * 2 sticks butter

Add: * 1 cup orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau * Juice from 2 oranges (zest these before juicing!) * 12 oz white chocolate chips

Stir gently until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients: * 2 cups flour * 1/2 tsp salt * Zest from two oranges (from oranges you juiced, above) * 1 tsp each: powdered ginger, cardomom and clove * 2 Tbs finely chopped candied ginger

In a mixing bowl, beat on medium speed until pale yellow and fluffy: * 8 eggs * 2 cup sugar * 1/4 tsp orange oil or Fiore di Sicilia http://foodloveinc.us13.list-manage.com/track/click?u=77cc26e06f414291d7c463df7&id=8146eb5ba3&e=0ab9ec18fb

On low speed, add cooled chocolate mixture to mixing bowl. Then add dry ingredients. Stir until just combined making sure to scrape the bowl. Divide into three greased and floured 8" round cakes pans. Bake 25 mins at 350º. Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean. Cool 5 mins in pans, turn out onto cooling racks until completely cooled. (These cakes are unusually sturdy and dense so you should have no trouble handling them.)

FROSTING * 3- 8oz containers marscarpone * 1.5 cups confectioners sugar * Zest of one orange (from orange you juiced for the filling) * 1 cup heavy cream

Add all ingredients to mixing bowl and whip until fluffy and thick.

ASSEMBLY Note: this is a naked cake, meaning you do not frost the sides, only between each layer and on top, so be a little sloppy and spread frosting and filling right to the edges so they'll show between the layers.

Place a scoop of frosting on cake plate, center first cake layer on plate and gently press down to spread frosting and secure cake to plate. Spread one-third of the frosting to the edge of the cake. Spoon one-third of the filling to the edge of the cake. Place next cake layer on top pressing gently so some frosting and filling will be visible along the edges. Spread one-third of the frosting to the edge of the cake. Spoon one-third of the filling to the edge of the cake. Place next cake layer on top pressing gently. Spread remaining frosting on top of cake. Mound remaining filling in center of cake and top with a satsuma or slices of orange. Store somewhere cool or in refrigerator. Allow to come to cool room temp before eating (just don’t keep it in a super hot kitchen or it may melt!).

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