The cranberry madness continues. I have been wanting to try this recipe for cranberry upside-down cake for over a year. I don’t have much experience with upside-down cakes, I’m not even sure that I have ever eaten one. I don’t know if my inexperience was keeping me from trying it or if other cranberry recipes had been more aggressive in their fight for my attention. In any case, I am sorry I waited! This is delicious!
A tender, moist cake topped with the tart, caramelized cranberries—what more could we ask for? The recipe said that the cake is best the day it is served, but I thought it was equally delicious on the second and third days…it didn’t last any longer than that so who knows? If you are like me and have never made an upside-down cake, the moment when you flip it out of the pan and reveal the ruby red topping is really thrilling.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake (Adapted from Alice Waters)
- 1 1/2 stick (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 3/4 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 2 eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In an 8-inch cast-iron skillet (***see note), cook 4 tablespoons butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the butter melts and starts to bubble. Remove pan from the heat and allow to cool.
In a small saucepan, cook the cranberries and orange juice until the cranberries just start to pop. Remove from the heat and pour evenly over the cooled caramel.
In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine.
In a bowl or stand mixer beat the remaining 8 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the two egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract. When mixed well. add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with one third of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter and then gently fold in the rest.
Pour the batter over the cranberries in the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate.
***I don’t have an 8-inch cast iron skillet, so I melted the butter and brown sugar in a regular skillet and then poured it into an 8-inch cake pan and continued with the recipe from there. It worked perfectly.