Would you like to know how long it took me to bake two loaves of this Cranberry Orange Pound Cake? Well I’ll tell you. It took me exactly two whole days! You see, that’s what happens when you have newborn twins at home. And while we’re on the subject of time…what day of the week is it? Did I mention my newborn twins?
I always get super excited when fresh cranberries arrive in the grocery store. It means that the holiday season has begun, cranberry sauce and all! And just thinking about all of my favorite cranberry desserts has me doing a happy dance. (If you haven’t made these Cranberry White Chocolate muffins you must!)
Anyway, back to my two-day pound cake. This pound cake is a cranberry lovers dream. It’s moist and dense with a bright and fresh orange flavor bursting with tart cranberries and drizzled with a sweet orange glaze. Perfection!
And I promise it will only take you 2 hours total to make these cakes. That is unless you happen to have newborn twins at home…then all bets are off!
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup grated orange zest (5-6 oranges)
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and dried
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter and 2 cups of the granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the orange zest.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the orange juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
- In a bowl, toss washed cranberries with a couple tablespoons of flour just to coat. This will help prevent the cranberries from settling in the batter. Mix cranberries into the batter by hand using a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
- While the cakes bake, cook the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack set over a tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to cool completely.
- To glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Drizzle over the top of cakes and allow the glaze to dry. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator.
Happy November friends! Thank you all for the kind messages on social media and through email, checking-in on me and the babies. Truth be told, I needed some time away and wasn’t ready to share all that Jason and I were going through over the past couple of months. But now with November upon us and the season of Thanksgiving in full swing, it feels like the right time to share what I’ve been up to. After all, I have a whole lot to be thankful for!
On August 21st, at 31 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I went into early labor with the twins. I started experiencing contractions the night before and when I woke up with contractions just 3 minutes apart the next morning I knew something was wrong. Jason drove me to the hospital and after the doctors failed to stop my labor I was being prepped and in an emergency C-section by 10:30 am.
Just the day before I was buying maternity clothes for my extra-large belly, planning the nursery, and shooting bump photos for an upcoming post that would never make it to the blog. I would never have dreamed (in my worst nightmare) that the next day I would be delivering my babies…it was too soon.
The memories of that day, the epidural, the lights in the operating room, the first sound of my tiny babies crying in their strained barely audible tone, Beyoncé’s “Drunk in Love” playing in the operating room (so strange), a glimpse of my daughter’s tiny face before they whisked the babies away, it’s all like one blurred and painfully surreal dream. That day was scary and sweet all tinted with nervous excitement and an unexplainable and overwhelming feeling of loss. It was the sudden end of my pregnancy and the beginning of a whole new life where my babies where here in the world! Tiny little babies who needed to spend the next 5 weeks in the NICU learning to breathe, eat, grow and gain weight outside of my body. Jason and I had no idea how we were about to be tested.
It wasn’t until the third day in the hospital that I was finally able to visit our babies. I couldn’t hold them, kiss their little faces, or nurse them. Instead I scrubbed in like a doctor about to go into surgery and sat in my wheel chair with my hands through the holes in the babies’ incubators to lightly touch their little heads and feet. Nothing prepares you for seeing your baby so small and fragile covered in wires, on a feeding tube, oxygen and monitors. It was then that my life officially stopped and all that remained were our babies and the daily roller coaster which life with two babies in the NICU.
After 5 days in the hospital I was discharged and went home leaving my babies behind. That day was probably the worst I’ve experienced. Before all of this, I had a nostalgic vision of labor and later being wheeled out holding a baby in each arm, glowing with excitement at having just delivered our twins. That moment wouldn’t come for me and at that time it was pretty hard to feel anything but sorrow. You can see why I haven’t shared this until now…it’s not happy stuff! But it get’s better, I promise.
Over the next month I spent every day, and night in the NICU with the babies. Eventually as they grew, we were able to hold them, feed them, change their diapers and take their temperatures. I lived for those tiny moments before they were swaddled back up by the nurses and returned to their incubators to rest. When I got the chance to change a diapers it felt like Christmas and that should be saying something!
But here is where the thankful part really comes in. Despite their pre-maturity, the twins began to thrive almost from the beginning. Every day I pumped breast milk to take to them, it was my only mission in life. That milk was the one thing I was able to give them and even if it was fed through a feeding tube and later a bottle, I felt connected to them as a result. Every day Jason and I held them, prayed over them, kissed their little heads and gave them as much love as we could. And my little miracle babies turned out to be fighters!
First our baby boy came home and a week later our baby girl. It hasn’t been without it’s ups and downs but even when I’m up all night with two newborns who are now able to nurse, cry just as loudly as any baby, have full blown diaper blow outs, spit up and do all of those normal newborns things, I’m ever thankful. So, very grateful that God has blessed us with two beautiful and healthy babies to complete our family. I will never stop being grateful for them or for the journey that put so much into perspective for me.
My heart is so full as I say, meet our babies Jackson Wesley & Millie Rose Bergman! I’m so lucky to be their mama. Motherhood is by far the most amazing blessing I’ve ever received.
photos by Leah & Jason Bergman
Apparently, eight hundred is the secret number of grapes it takes to make one bottle of wine. So when you come home after a long, stressful day, pop open a bottle and decide to indulge, you’re really just nourishing your body with an extra healthy dose of fruit! Well, okay… that’s not exactly how the story goes, but pour yourself a glass of your favorite red, anyway, in honor of the newest Freutcake Book Club selection, Eight Hundred Grapes, by Laura Dave.
I breezed through this book in just a couple of days and have officially deemed it my favorite novel of the summer. And I’m not the only one who feels this way; numerous magazines, including Good Housekeeping, Glamour, and Marie Claire have named it “Best Book of the Summer.” I have extremely high hopes that you’ll feel the same!
Eight Hundred Grapes introduces us to its main character, thirty-year-old Georgia Ford, on a rainy evening as she makes her way into a tavern in her hometown in Sonoma County. She’s alone, sporting a disheveled bun, “deeply unsettled” eyes, and a wedding dress. Her wedding dress. I won’t give away any more details at this point, but the secrets surrounding Georgia and her family will keep you on the edge of your seat as they begin to unravel. The various characters deal with the all too real struggles of dissolving marriages, sibling rivalry, family loyalty, and deciding when it’s time to abandon everything for the sake of following one’s heart. This is all done amidst a backdrop of luscious vineyards, charming cottages, pink sunsets, and warm lasagna dinners. Details of the precious process of winemaking are woven into the story and will provide you with a deep appreciation of the art, if you didn’t already have one. You will truly feel like you’ve been whisked away on a wine country weekend getaway as you drown yourself in this novel. Just writing about it is making me want to read it all over again! So join me and Freutcake Book Club as we read (or reread!) Eight Hundred Grapes. Make sure to leave a comment below letting us know if you do, what you think, and if you have any other suggestions for future book club picks!
Get the Book: Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel
photo by Christina Streit