I confess: today is not Tuesday and this is not a Tuesdays with Dorie entry. I saw this recipe for cranberry upside down cake on another food blog a few weeks ago and immediately wanted to make it because it was so beautiful! I really should have waited because eventually this cake will be chosen in the TWD recipe rotation and I’ll get to make it. I couldn’t though. Not when I had all of the ingredients on hand and such a beautiful cake staring up at me from the pages of Dorie’s book. Besides, Dorie provides a variation on this cake in the recipe (summery peach upside-downer!) so perhaps I’ll make that version when this recipe rolls around!
I’ve really come to enjoy single layer cakes. They’re so much less work than elaborate layer cakes and most of the time, they’re just as lovely. This one is no exception. I love that you’re able to skip the step of buttering the cake pan and lining it with parchment since the melted butter and sugar serve as the base. I also enjoyed that you remove the cake from the pan immediately after taking it out of the oven (I’m not very patient and all that time cooling things on racks makes me anxious). I was worried, but my cake released beautifully from the pan and sort of looked like Dorie’s! I gave the cake away so I didn’t try a slice but I did pick at a few of the berries and nuts that stuck in the pan and they were delicious. The cake received rave reviews and someone even requested the recipe, which speaks volumes about the success of this cake I think! So if you have frozen cranberries sitting in your freezer I definitely recommend using some of them to try this cake.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups cranberries – fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup red currant jelly, for glazing the cake
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 F. Put an 8-x-2 inch round cake pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour this evenly over the bottom of the cake pan, then scatter over the nuts and top with the cranberries, smoothing the layer and pressing it down gently with your fingertips. (If frozen berries cause the butter to congeal, don’t worry – everything will melt in the oven.) Set aside.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining stick of butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter over the cranberries and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and run a blunt knife between the sides of the pan and the cake. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. If any of the berries stick to the pan-as they might-just scrape them off with a table knife and return them to the cake.
Warm the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, or do this in a microwave oven. Gently brush the glaze over the hot cake.