I welcome the tartness and I shy away from adding too much sugar.
That’s my relationship with cranberries.
I love cranberry. It easily ranks in the top 5 for my favorite holiday flavors. Or I guess I should say foods, with it being an actual fruit and all.
It’s why this cranberry upside down cake immediately got my attention.
I received a copy of Lei Shishak’s new book, Farm-to-Table Desserts: 80 Seasonal, Organic Recipes from your Farmers Market, earlier this year. I made her Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies from her book Beach House Baking back in 2014 and loved them so when I was offered the review copy of her new book, I gladly accepted.
There are a lot of great ideas in here that I can’t wait to try. All categorized by the season to maximize the freshness of produce and the flavor.
As I was flipping through, this cranberry cake got my attention. First, because upside down cakes are so fun. Second, because I love cranberries and this sounded like a great way to switch up desserts around the holiday season.
The fresh cranberries are slightly sweetened and cooked down to a quick, thick jam-like spread. That goes in the pan and then it is topped with a lightly spiced cake.
The book calls for a 9-inch round pan, but I wanted to see if I could split it up into smaller portions for gift giving. I used four mini-loaf pans and it turned out great. The baking time didn’t even really vary that much. I just watched it closely.
This cranberry upside down cake is so festive and a nice break from cookies and candy. If you have dessert-lovers in your life who like fresh, approachable dessert recipes, this book might just be the perfect gift.
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
Recipe reprinted with permission.
From the book:
As you can see, this upside down cake has a loaded top layer of gorgeous cranberries. Their classic tart flavor is perfectly balanced by the sweet gingerbread cake below. This dessert is a nice alternative to mainstream Holiday desserts. Served with a simple dollop of whipped cream, this cake is sure to be the start of a new Holiday dessert tradition.
2 tablespoons plus ½ cup unsalted butter, soft
3 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup whole milk
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/8 cup honey
Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with 2 tablespoons butter followed by a top coat of pan spray. Set aside.
Add the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest to a medium pot over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook at a low boil for about 5 minutes until berries burst and sauce thickens. Pour into prepared pan and evenly spread mixture on the bottom.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream ½ cup butter, brown sugar and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape bowl well. Add the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Whisk together the milk, oil and honey in a small bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the liquids and mix until incorporated. Scrape bowl well and spread batter evenly over the cranberries. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cake sit on counter for 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around the edge. Flip out onto a serving plate.