Today I am sharing a recipe for Cranberry Upside Down Cake that is delicious and festive. I have been baking this cake for a while and it has always been fantastic without any surprises. The cake has a beautiful crimson red cranberry glaze that makes any holiday table shine.
This is a delicious and light buttery cake that would be fantastic just by itself, but to make it even more special a layer of tart cranberries are baked in caramelized sugar in the bottom of the pan. Once the cake is baked it is inverted onto the serving platter. The caramelized cranberries bake into a tangy gooey layer. The flavor combination is fantastic in this cake. The fluffy buttery cake and tart sweet cranberries are a perfect match.
Some freshly whipped cream tastes great with this Cranberry Upside Down Cake. The cake is best served warm or at room temperature. When I do serve this cake with whipped cream, I serve it on the side for everyone to help themselves. This cake also freezes very well, but you will need to bring it back to room temperature before serving.
This cake is a perfect hassle free holiday dessert that bakes well with a beautiful display. I feel that with all the little details that need to be taken care of before that large family get together it would be nice to have a reliable recipe without any surprises! The cake bakes in the time specified but it is always a good idea to check it at the lowest temperature indicated.
Cranberries are full of antioxidants and vitamins. They ripen September through October and are available in the markets through December. The color of these super berries varies from light red to deep scarlet. I love baking with cranberries throughout the year so I always buy couple of extra bags and freeze them.
To freeze cranberries, pick through and discard any soft and imperfect ones. Wash under cold water in a colander and allow to drain for couple of hours. Washing the cranberries makes them ready to be used frozen, and draining them keeps them from sticking together when frozen. Pile up the berries into large freezer-safe bags and enjoy them all year round. Cranberries keep their shape beautifully and can be used frozen in most baking recipes; they also add a beautiful red color and tangy flavor to chutneys.
Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with melted butter and set aside. In a small saucepan stir butter and brown sugar over medium low heat until it starts bubbling. Pour the caramelized sugar in the cake pan and swirl it around to cover the entire surface. Immediately add enough cranberries to cover the bottom of the pan without any space between them. Gently press your hand on top of the cranberries and if any space opens up add more berries. The reason for this is that when cranberries bake they pop and shrink and if they have not formed a tight layer you will have some bare spots on the cake.
Use the beater attachment on the electric mixer. Beat the butter, then add sugar and eggs. Add the flour in 3 portions, alternating with milk. Start and end with the flour mixture. Transfer this batter to a large bowl and wash and dry the bowl of the mixer very well and get ready to beat the egg whites.
Set the mixer with whisk attachment and beat the egg whites with cream of tartar in the clean bowl until almost stiff peaks but not too stiff. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter in two portions until uniformly combined.
Spoon the batter on top of the cranberries in the cake pan. Smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is a nice golden brown and the sides start pulling away from the pan. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Cool the cake inside the pan over a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges of the pan to release the cake. Place the serving platter over the cake pan and invert.
This recipe was adapted from here
Bake Time: 35-40 minutes
You will need a 9-inch round cake pan (brush bottom and sides with melted butter)
- FOR THE CRANBERRY LAYER:
- 2 ½ ounces (5 TBSP) sweet unsalted butter, cubed
- ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 ¼ cups fresh cranberries (enough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan in a tight single layer)
- FOR THE BATTER:
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 8 ounces (1/2 cup) sweet unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs separated, at room temperature
- ½ cup whole or reduced fat milk, room temperature (I used 1% fat)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar, to be mixed and whipped with egg whites
- OPTIONAL GARNISH
- Mildly sweet fresh whipped cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, center rack
- Pick through the fresh cranberries and get rid of any soft ones.
- To prepare the 9-inch round cake pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave. Use a brush to generously brush the sides and bottom of the pan and set aside.
- THE CRANBERRY LAYER: In a small saucepan add the cubed butter and brown sugar. Heat over medium heat until the butter starts to melt. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir to mix the sugar and butter well. The sugar will start to bubble and caramelize in a couple of minutes. Do not leave the sugar unattended because from here on it goes pretty fast.
- Remove the pan from heat and pour into the prepared cake pan. Swirl around so it covers the entire bottom of the pan.
- Add the cranberries handful at a time, enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer. Next, press the palm of your hand on top of the cranberries. Fill in any empty spots with more cranberries to form a very tight layer. Set aside.
- MAKE THE CAKE: Whisk together and combine 1 ½ cups flour, 2 tsp baking powder, and ¼ tsp salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Set the electric mixer with the beater attachment. Add the softened butter to the bowl of the mixer and beat until fluffy, turn the mixer off. Add the sugar to the bowl and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and add 1 tsp vanilla extract. Add 2 egg yolks and beat only until well blended and uniformly yellow in color. Turn the mixer off and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour mixture in low speed in 3 additions, alternating with milk. Start and finish with the flour mixture. After each addition of flour or milk beat the mixture on low only until blended, turn the mixer off and add the next addition. Scrape the sides down several times so there is no unmixed flour in the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix. Transfer the batter to a large bowl.
- Wash and dry the bowl of the mixer very well.
- Attach the whisk attachment to the mixer. Add the egg whites to the clean bowl, add the cream of tartar and beat until semi stiff peaks form.
- Use a spatula to gently fold in the beaten egg whites to the batter in large bowl, in two additions. Combine well.
- Add the batter to the cake pan on top of the cranberries. Smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown.
- The cake will be pulling away from the sides of the pan and a tooth pick inserted in the center should come out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and cool the cake in the pan over a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife along the edges of the pan to release the cake completely.
- Place the serving platter over the cake and Invert.
- Occasionally a few cranberries might get stock to the bottom of the pan. Lift them up and put them back on top of the cake for a pretty presentation.
- This cake tastes great warm or at room temperature. Any refrigerated leftovers should be brought back to room temperature for 30-45 minutes before serving.