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 can use both fresh as well as frozen cranberries. And this cake is a great Thanksgiving alternative (or addition) to pumpkin and apple pies.
Make sure to serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Craving more cake? Take a look at these from the blog archive:
Do you make upside-down cakes? What fruit do you use? And your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?
Tell me in the comments.Print
Sweet-sour sponge cake scented with vanilla, lemon zest and cinnamon, and filled with cranberries
- Topping ingredients
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries
- Cake ingredients
- 4 eggs
- ¾ cup granulted sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 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. (Because the sugar caramelizes during baking, some of the fruit might get stuck to the bottom. Just scrape it and place it back on top of the cake).
- Let cool, slice into wedges, and serve.