This CRANBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE is an easy way to make a show-stopping dessert for the holiday season!
So many people think of cranberries as that can-shaped gelatinous sauce that is ever-present at the Thanksgiving table. This cranberry upside-down cake is a different way to incorporate cranberries into your holiday meals. A sweetened and lightly spiced layer of cranberries sits atop a buttery cake for an elegant dessert that’s the perfect sweet ending to any feast.
This recipe starts like many great cake recipes with some butter and sugar. The pan needs to be well buttered for this cake to help create a golden crust. A layer of sugar goes into the pan along with some spices – the spices add just a hint of complexity and warmth without being overpowering. A pile of fresh cranberries goes on top of the sugar – this cranberry and sugar mixture will cook down in the oven to become a syrup which will soak into the cake when you flip it over.
The cake layer itself is a simple vanilla cake that holds up well to the cranberry topping. You can absolutely serve the cake as is, but I prefer to add a generous dollop of whipped cream on top. If you’d like to dress the cake up you can add garnishes like springs of mint, fresh cranberries, and pomegranate seeds for a festive finish.
This cranberry upside down cake is a bit unexpected in the best possible way. Your friends and family will rave about this new addition to the dessert table and it may just become a holiday tradition for you like it is for me.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar divided use
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup milk I use 1%
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Mint sprigs fresh cranberries and pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons of the softened butter. In a medium bowl mix together 1/2 cup sugar with the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
- Pour the sugar and spice mixture evenly over bottom of pan and arrange cranberries in a single layer on top.
- With a mixer, cream remaining 6 tablespoons of butter with the other 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- In another bowl mix together the flour and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the batter evenly over the cranberries in the pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert onto a serving platter.
- Beat the heavy cream in a bowl with a mixer until stiff peaks form; add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat for 30 seconds more (just until sugar is combined)
- Place the whipped cream on top of the cake in a large dollop and decorate with mint, cranberries and/or pomegranate seeds if desired. Alternatively you can serve the whipped cream separately alongside each piece.