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This festive holiday cake is inspired by a recipe from Lindsey Shere, former longtime pastry chef at Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California (one of my favorite restaurants). This is a perfect winter dessert – Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years (okay even Valentine’s Day) are all perfect times to make this treat as fresh cranberries are abundant in the winter months. If you can’t find fresh, then frozen ones will do the trick.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake



4 TBS unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 lb cranberries


1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

8 TBS unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

1/8 tsp cream of tartar


1 cup heavy cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBS powdered sugar


Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper. To make the topping, place the butter and brown sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Pour into prepared pan, making certain to cover evenly. Scatter the cranberries over the butter-sugar mixture. Set aside.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cake, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, (approximately 2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk.

In another small bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Using the spatula, fold the whites into the batter.

Spoon the batter over the cranberries in the cake pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 55-60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a serving plate, let stand for 5 minutes, then lift off the pan.

To make the whipped cream, in a bowl, using a whisk or an electric mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir in the vanilla and confectioners sugar.

To serve, cut the cake into wedges and top with the whipped cream.

This recipe is a keeper. File it away, it always gets rave reviews!

2 Replies to “Cranberry Down-side Up Cake”

  1. Wow! Was browsing the web for something to use a leftover bag of fresh cranberries for and I am so glad I found this recipe. I made it for a family dinner, as well as some fruit cobblers which I thought were going to be the stars of the show, and this cake stole the show! Because I think cranberries belong with oranges, I mixed some zest into the batter and I was so sorry I had taken it to share! It’s so good, I could have eaten the whole thing myself. Can’t wait to make it again. I may never make pineapple upside down again. 🙂

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