Thursday, January 6, 2011

Upside-Down Cake: Cranberry Style

There’s something about flipping my dessert upside down that charmed me about this recipe.  The technique is actually very old fashioned, as is the dessert itself…but the element of thrill in the guise of a cake-flip really intrigued me, and I couldn’t resist trying it.  Turns out though that the final flip at the end of the bake wasn’t nearly the most thrilling part of this cake experience; lighting the oven on fire was. 

I’m certain when I first read this recipe it said to use a spring-form pan (where the bottom of the pan isn’t attached to its sides and instead snaps in place around it)…to help get the cake out more easily when it finishes baking.  But actually there was no need for that type of baking equipment at all; with a nicely greased pan and a bit of parchment paper, things would have been just fine…

The basic strategy for this cake is to put the cranberries into the bottom of the pan, cover them in cake batter, and then just bake it, flip it, serve it.  I should have noticed something was a-rye when I lifted up the uncooked cake to put it into the oven and a buttery, sugary residue was all over the counter.  But I am a very messy cook and thought nothing of a little spill. 

The second that poor little cake hit the oven rack and heated up the butter seeped, no scratch that, the butter poured out the sides of the pan and began to splatter and char at the bottom of the oven.  I’m curious what you would have done in such a predicament.  Usually I just sit there and cry but there was no one around to help so I took to action.  I threw another pan into the oven on the bottom shelf to catch the drippings so they wouldn’t stick to the oven itself.  That worked for a total of .5 seconds because the drop and splatter effect was still resulting in a burning smoky situation.  I then put a second pan directly underneath the actual cake and thankfully that worked mildly well enough.  In the end, the cake flipped nicely and tasted delicious, which really made me realize: if this cake could go through all that and still turn out so lovely, then this recipe is perfect to share!  


2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

12 tblsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tblsp. honey

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt
3 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan NOT A SPRING FORM PAN! with butter and cover the bottom with parchment paper. In a pot over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter, the honey and 1/4 cup water and bring everything to a boil. Pour into your prepared cake pan and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together into a bowl.  In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sour cream together at medium speed until well blended. Add the vanilla extract. Then add in the remaining butter (8 tblsp.) and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.

Spoon the batter on top of the cranberry mixture and use a spatula or spoon to spread it around trying your best to not disturb the layer of cranberries too much.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick can be poked in and come out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool. Run a knife along the edges of the pan and place a platter on top before flipping the whole thing over and then gently lifting the pan off the upside down cake.  


  1. dear best friend,
    this blog is adoable! you bet your butt i just read through all of the posts you made. When are you baking for me next time you are home? I'll take some chocolate squares...thanks!
    Its official...your blog is now bookmarked! And who knows maybe they will make a movie based on it like they did for Julie & Julia... :-D Keep up the yummy work!

  2. I like for Breakfast and Dessert! Nice work Marion!

  3. Thanks for all the love and support!

  4. So pretty. Great use of cranberries.


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