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Upside-Down Cranberry Cake

Yields one 9-inch cake, serves about 6–8Topping4 tablespoons unsalted butter2/3 cup granulated sugar1 teaspoon ground cinnamon2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberriesCake4 eggs¾ cup granulted sugarZest of 1 lemon1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or unsalted butter, melted, cooled1 teaspoon vanilla extract¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour¼ cup cornstarch1 teaspoon baking powderPinch salt {pinterest_rich_pins_images} Upside-Down Cranberry Cake {/pinterest_rich_pins_images}

Upside-Down Cranberry Cake

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    Upside-Down Cranberry Cake

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Oct 31, 2018

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Upside-Down Cranberry Cake

Upside-down cakes have been around for a long time, and they’re very easy to make. The idea is simple: Cover the bottom of a baking pan (cast-iron skillet is great too) with a layer of fruit mixed with sugar and butter, cover with batter and bake; then flip over to reveal the now-caramelized glaze on top.

The most popular is pineapple—it was all the rage in the 1950s—but any fruit can be used (peaches and cherries come to mind). Cranberries, which are very tart, work perfectly in this version; they blend with the butter and sugar, and the sponge cake, resulting in an irresistibly sweet-sour coffee cake. You wouldn’t be wrong serving it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 


  1. Yields one 9-inch cake, serves about 6–8
  2. Topping
  3. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries
  7. Cake
  8. 4 eggs
  9. ¾ cup granulted sugar
  10. Zest of 1 lemon
  11. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  12. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  13. ¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  14. ¼ cup cornstarch
  15. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  16. Pinch salt


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch ovenproof skillet or a 9-inch cake pan (round or square).


To make the topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and cranberries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the melted butter over it and toss to incorporate the butter. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the skillet or cake pan in an even layer. Set aside.


To make the cake batter, beat the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until pale and increased in volume, about 6 minutes. Stir in the vegetable oil or melted butter and the vanilla extract.


Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt directly into the bowl with the batter, and use a wooden spoon to fold it in. Make sure there are no lumps and visible flour. Pour the batter over the cranberries making sure it evenly spreads.


Bake in the oven until puffed and golden on top, about 35–40 minutes. Remove from the oven and run a tip of a knife around the sides of the skillet to loosen it. Place a plate on top of the skillet or cake pan, and flip it over to release the cake. Let cool, slice into wedges, and serve.


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