This cranberry upside-down cake with a sweet, caramel-like cranberry topping will be your new favourite winter treat. This delicious cake is sweetened with natural beet sugar and unrefined Mascobado brown sugar for a sweet but not over the top sweet cake that is packed with brightly flavoured tart red berries. This super easy to make buttermilk cake is made in a cast-iron skillet and goes from stovetop to oven in just a few simple steps. And the result is perfectly delicious!
Where to find cranberries
Coming from Canada, locally grown, fresh cranberries are a relatively common from September to December, as it goes without saying that we like to make a cranberry sauce to accompany our Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey dinners. In Germany, however, their availability has only started to increase in the last few years. The largest plantation is north south of Lüneburger Heide, making cranberries readily available in larger supermarkets (e.g. Rewe) here in in North Germany. These deliciously tart berries, are also produced in Bavaria, South Germany.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake is perfect for the holidays!
Looking for the perfect Christmas cake that’s easy to make from scratch and tastes amazing? Well, here it is! Made with seasonal, winter berries, this is a delicious alternative to a classic pear or apple cake. It’s delicious served while still warm from the oven but also tastes great at room temperature.
Looking for more holiday cake inspiration?
Check out one of these holiday favourites:
- Jam Crumble Cake
- German Apple Torte
- Flourless Chocolate Soufflé Cake
- Oma’s Pear Tart
- Classic Apple Pie with Cranberries
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
For the topping:
- 60 g unsalted butter cubed (1/4 cup)
- 100 g Mascobado brown sugar (2/3 cup)
- 300 g fresh cranberries rinsed (or frozen, not thawed)
For the cake batter:
- 210 g white spelt flour (Type 630) (1 1/2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 60 g unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/4 cup)
- 100 g organic beet sugar or fine granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from an organic orange
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla powder
- 125 ml buttermilk (1/2 cup)
In a 24 cm cast iron skillet, over medium heat, melt 60 g butter and the brown sugar together, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts and is liquified (about 4-5 minutes). As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF /175°C (155°C fan-assisted).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using an electric hand mixer, beat 60 g of butter, with the the sugar and orange zest at medium high speed until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).
Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, stopping and scraping down the sides, as needed. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Add half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, then the remaining dry ingredients, and using a spatula, mix together until the mixture is JUST combined. Do NOT over mix. The batter will be quite thick.
Add the cranberries to the skillet with the butter-brown sugar mixture and distribute in an even layer. Spoon the batter in small mounds over the cranberries and use a spatula to spread into an even layer over the fruit.
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Note: place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom rack to catch any juices that may bubble over as the cranberries bake.
Remove from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the cake to release it from the side of the pan and place a serving platter overturned on top of the cake in the skillet, then using oven mitts, flip the two over simultaneously to release the cake from the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
- For this recipe, be sure to use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Alternatively, this cake can also be made in a regular cake pan or ceramic dish with a diameter of 23-25 cm. The butter-brown sugar mixture can be prepared in a skillet then poured into the cake pan before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. Note: A springform pan will most likely leak so is NOT recommended for this recipe.
- For this cranberry cake recipe you need to turn the cake out onto a plate before the caramelised sugar cools down, otherwise it risks sticking to the skillet.
- The cake will keep well at room temperature for 2 days, or you can also refrigerate it, covered, for at least 5 days.
- Recipe inspired by David LeBovitz and adapted from his version of Cranberry Upside-Down Cake.
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