You could bake a pie or batch after batch of cookies to bring to a party, or you could delight the host with an elegant, festive bundt cake dusted with confectioners' sugar. This cake is made to last; it'll hold up for as long as a week and you can bake it up to a month ahead of time and freeze it. Your host doesn't have to know how easy it was to make.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup bundt or kugelhopf pan (or twelve 1-cup mini bundt pans). Tap out any excess flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With a stand mixer (use the paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter and almond paste in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stop the mixer at least one last time to scrape the bowl and then beat at medium speed until the batter is smooth, about 20 seconds. Fold in the cranberries with a rubber spatula.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan (or pans), spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Run a knife through the batter to eliminate any air pockets. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (about 20 minutes for mini cakes). Set the pan on a rack to cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, remove the pan, and let the cake cool completely. If you’re making the cake ahead, wrap it while still barely warm. Serve at room temperature dusting the top with convectionar's sugar, if you like.
Make Ahead Tips
Wrapped tightly in plastic, the cake will keep for up to a week. They also freeze well for up to a month.
Photo: Scott Phillips