Cranberry-Orange Upside Down Cake

If you have some cranberries that need using, and you want a simple but delicious cake for dessert (or breakfast), you might consider this little beauty.  It’s a basic butter cake layer, scented with orange zest and vanilla, topped with a layer of caramelized cranberries.  I tweaked the topping by adding orange marmalade and candied ginger; all the better to enhance the sweet-tart contrast with the tender buttery cake.  It goes together quickly and is perfect served with a little softly whipped cream, although I think ice cream might be a good accompaniment as well.  It’s prime citrus season, and oranges and cranberries are good flavor pals, so give this a try.  It will bring a little sunshine to your day.

Cranberry-Orange Upside Down Cake
(makes one 8-inch single layer cake)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter the bottom and sides of an 8×2-inch round cake pan with:
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
In a small bowl whisk together:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the bottom of the buttered cake pan.  In a medium bowl gently stir together:
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
Spread the cranberry mixture over the bottom of the cake pan.  Set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon finely grated orange zest
When the mixture is light and fluffy, beat in:
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
In a small bowl whisk together:
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with:
1/2 cup whole milk
When the batter is smooth, dollop it over the cranberry topping in the pan, and spread it gently and evenly with an off-set spatula.  Put the cake in the oven and bake until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 32 to 38 minutes.  Set on a wire rack to cool for 20  minutes.  Invert the pan over a cake plate or stand, and voila, there is your beautiful cake.  If the odd bit of topping has stuck to the pan, simply apply it to the cake with your spatula.  Serve, while still warm, with a spoonful of softly whipped cream, or your favorite vanilla ice cream.  Any leftovers can be wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
(adapted from “Martha Stewart”)



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