Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is such a pretty dessert for your holiday table, but so easy to make for a family dessert anytime. Use either fresh or frozen cranberries to layer on the bottom of a cake pan along with butter and brown sugar to make this sweet-tart topping. After baking the cake is turned upside-down allowing the cranberry topping to cover and drip down over the sides of a wonderful dense yellow cake. Delicious served plain, or with sweetened whipped cream
Recipe type: Dessert | Upside-Down Cake
Serves: 8 to 10
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups (one 12 ounce bag) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk (preferably whole milk)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use a 10 inch cast iron skillet. You can substitute any heavy 10 inch ovenproof skillet with an ovenproof handle, or a 9 inch or 10 inch round or square cake pan, or a 10 inch springform pan with the outside wrapped in heavy duty foil to prevent leakage.
  1. In the skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Use a pastry brush to spread a little of the melted butter around the insides of the skillet to help prevent the fruit from sticking after it is baked. When the butter is completely melted, stir in the brown sugar until thoroughly combined; remove from heat. Place the cranberries on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set aside. Tip: if you are using a cake pan or springform pan in place of a skillet, then use a small heavy saucepan to melt the butter, stir in the brown sugar until thoroughly combined, then pour the mixture into the cake pan.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, stir the milk and vanilla together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the milk mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and milk mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
  6. In another medium mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.
  7. Bake: Spread the batter over the cranberries in the cake pan. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and run a small kitchen knife around the edges. Let sit for 15 minutes on a wire cooling rack.
  8. Upside-Down: Invert the cake onto a serving platter and let it sit for another 5 minutes to let the sugar topping drip down onto the cake, then remove the pan.
  9. Serve either warm or cooled, either plain or with sweetened whipped cream.
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 10" Cast Iron Skillet, or One 9" Round, or One 10" Round, or One 10" Springform Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Covered, Room Temperature

Help: Cake Hints and Tips

TheBakingPan Recommends: The BEST instant read thermometer I’ve used for cooking and baking; the ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is incredibly fast, ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapenaccurate, and well worth the investment. I use my Thermapen Thermometer for checking room temperature ingredients, tempering chocolate, baking bread, making pastry creams, sugar syrup, caramel, and candy, cooking meats and fish, and deep frying. Thermapen Thermometer available here.
Recipe by at