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Inside Out & Upside-Down: Cranberry Cake

  • 1/4
    Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
  • 2/4
    Cranberries on top of a layer of melted butter and sugar
  • 3/4
    To make the cake, beat the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until pale and increased in volume, about 6 minutes.
  • 4/4
    Pour the batter over the cranberries in an even layer.

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

May 3, 2016

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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 (typically a cast-iron skillet) with melted butter and sugar, add a layer of fruit, 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. 

O

  1. Yields one 9-inch cake, serves about 6–8
  2. Topping
  3. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 2/3 cup sugar
  5. ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries
  7. Cake
  8. 4 eggs
  9. ¾ cup sugar
  10. Zest of 1 lemon
  11. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  12. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  13. ¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
  14. ¼ cup cornstarch, sifted
  15. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  16. Pinch salt

1

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

2

To make the topping, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon, and cook until the sugar starts to dissolve, about 4 minutes. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the skillet or cake pan, and scatter the cranberries in an even layer. Set aside.

3

To make the cake, 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 melted butter and the vanilla extract.

4

Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, and use a wooden spoon to fold into the egg mixture. Pour the batter over the cranberries.

5

Bake in the oven until puffed and golden on top, about 35 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, and flip it over to release the cake. Let cool, slice into wedges, and serve.

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