This Cranberry Upside-Down Cake recipe will make a great addition to your holiday dessert line up! Fresh cranberries are the perfect topping for a delicious upside down cake.
This cranberry cake is an easy recipe and a delicious cake that is perfect for a special occasion such as Thanksgiving or a fall party. It’s made in a spring form pan. The best part is the fruit layer on top, which will have caramelized cranberries (not cranberry sauce!) None of your grocery stores will have a holiday cake as delicious as this one. Another good choice that is similar to this one is my pumpkin cranberry upside down cake.
- salted butter, at room temperature
- fresh cranberries (or frozen)
- light brown sugar
- chopped pecans, toasted
- white sugar
- large eggs, at room temperature
- vanilla extract
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- ground cinnamon
How to toast pecans:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roast the pecans on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp.
How to make Cranberry Upside Down Cake:
The complete, printable recipe is at the end of this post.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and pour it into a 9-inch springform pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries and brown sugar, then scatter the mixture on top of the butter in the pan. Sprinkle the pecans evenly on top of the cranberries.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and sugar at medium speed until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then beat in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir well. Beat a third of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Continue alternating in this way until you’ve beaten in the last of the dry ingredients. Spoon the cake batter evenly over the cranberries in the bottom of the pan.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes
Orange and cranberry are flavors that work well together. If you’d like to add some orange zest to the recipe, that would be delicious. Add 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the batter. Alternately, if you would prefer a lemon- cranberry dessert, add 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to the batter instead.
Invert the baked, slightly cooled cake onto a serving plate or your favorite cake plate and remove the pan. The cranberry mixture will now be visible on top of the cake.
Cut the cake into slices and serve. It’s not a super rich cake. In fact, I’d compare it to a coffee cake. The tart cranberries are balanced with plenty of sugar. Enjoy this cranberry upside down cake with a cup of coffee or tea. If you’d like to serve it as dessert, a scoop of vanilla ice cream over a warm slice of cake would be fabulous. Store leftovers in an airtight container (or wrap it well with plastic wrap.
Frequently asked questions:
- Do I have to use fresh cranberries? No. But you’ll want to use fresh or frozen. The great thing about fresh cranberries is that they freeze well. Buy several bags when they’re available in the fall, and toss the bags in the freezer so you can use fresh/frozen cranberries all year long. Don’t use cranberry sauce for this recipe.
- Can I leave out the nuts? Yes! If you are allergic to nuts (or if you’re not a nut family), leave the nuts out of the recipe.
- Do I have to use a springform pan? It’s easiest to use a springform pan because the sides come off and then it’s easy to flip over. You can also use a 9-inch cake pan, but it’s a little tricky to get all of the cranberry topping to come cleanly out of the pan.
- Can I make this recipe ahead of serving? Yes. Cakes are always better when served the day they are made, but if you need to make it a day ahead then that should work out okay. It should be noted that warm slices of cranberry upside down cake are delicious!
Here are are a few more upside down cake recipes you might enjoy:
- Apple Cinnamon Upside Down Cake
- Peach Upside Down Cake
- Pecan Upside Down Bundt Cake
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Lemon and Blueberry Upside Down Cake
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, softened (divided)
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and pour it into a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries and brown sugar, then scatter the mixture on top of the butter in the pan. Sprinkle the pecans evenly on top of the cranberries.
- In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and sugar at medium speed until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then beat in the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and stir well. Beat a third of the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Continue alternating in this way until you’ve beaten in the last of the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter evenly over the cranberries.
- Bake the cake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving platter and remove the pan.