cranberry upside down cake

December  5, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Makes one 9 inch round cake
Author Notes

This recipe is something I’m really proud of. I often say that cooking is my therapy. Case in point…we had just moved our family across the Pacific to Hawaii and it was our first autumn there. Living in paradise was a dream, but I still found myself longing for a cool, crisp morning and the changing colors of fall. So I went to the kitchen and started cooking. This cake is the product of that particular therapy session. I think it’s safe to say this cake will be in heavy rotation from October to November every year. —Callie Canlas

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanill
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided into 4 T and 2 T
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand up mixer with the whisk attachment (or with a hand held mixer and a large bowl) beat the eggs on high till fluffy and the color becomes light a yellow, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. When the egg mixture is ready, slowly add the sugar and continue beating on high for 5-6 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt 2 T butter and milk on medium high until butter is completely melted and little bubbles start to from around the edge of the pan. Remove from heat.
  5. Turn mixer down to low and carefully add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Slowly increase speed to medium and mix until combined. Add the milk mixture and vanilla and mix for another 30 seconds or so until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Set aside.
  6. Combine 4 T of butter, brown sugar and orange zest in a small saucepan. Melt together on medium heat and whisk till combined. Make sure all the lumps are gone and that the mixture becomes homogenous (it might take a bit for the sugar to absorb all the butter). Pour into a 9-inch round cake pan. Spread out into an even layer and pour cranberries on top. Spread cranberries into a single layer and lightly press them into the butter and sugar mixture.
  7. Scrape the botton of the bowl with the whisk attachment very well to incorporate everything from the bottom. Pour cake batter over cranberries and bake for 30-35 minutes until the middle is set and firm.
  8. Remove the cake from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Wash and dry the mixing bowl and whisk. Place them in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. (I like to clean up while the cake is baking and the bowl is chilling.)
  10. Wash and dry the mixing bowl and whisk. Place them in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill. (I like to clean up while the cake is baking and the bowl is chilling.)
  11. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto desired serving platter. Carefully remove the cake pan. The cake is easier to slice if it cools for an hour or so (but you don’t have to wait if you don’t want to). Serve each slice of cake with a dollop of whip cream on top.
  12. notes: Measuring out ingredients before you begin a recipe (especially when baking) makes for a less hectic experience and a better end result. Pressing the cranberries into the butter and sugar mixture ensures that the cranberries won’t rise to the top during baking. Cold cream and a cold mixing bowl make for the best whip cream. Keep the cream in the fridge until it’s time to whip it up. If you’d like even more of a citrus kick, add the zest of another orange to the cream before mixing. The cake can also be baked in a 9x9 square pan. This is great if you need to portion it into smaller pieces to serve a bigger crowd. But baking time may decrease by a few minutes or so and you’ll need to add ¼ cup more cranberries.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Callie Canlas
    Callie Canlas
  • food52fan
  • Muse

3 Reviews

food52fan March 22, 2021
This is my new #1 cranberry upside down cake recipe! I had a request for a cranberry upside down cake, and decided this one looked the most interesting, plus it is so well written. Cranberries are woefully out of season, so the only change to the recipe I made was to purchase dried cranberries and reconstitute them in a mix of cranberry juice and water (water to account for the sugar in the liquid and dried berries). I used just enough liquid to barely cover the dried berries. I think rum would be lovely, too! Drained off the liquid and proceeded with the recipe. The cake smelled heavenly with the citrus scent of the zest shining through, and the sticky toffee-like layer held the berries and was so delicious itself, Thank you for this recipe. I know it was written years ago and I hope you have been happy in Hawaii!
Muse December 5, 2013
I adore cranberries in any form...thank you for sharing your recipe! Can't wait to try it.
Callie C. December 5, 2013
Thanks for the comment Muse...hope you like it!