Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

cranberry upside-down cake
Diana Rattray
  • 65 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 10 Servings
Ratings (12)

This amazing cranberry upside-down cake is a great way to celebrate the season! The tart cranberry and brown sugar mixture on the sweet cake is the perfect flavor combination. Add this impressive cake to your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert menu to really conclude the holiday festivities in style.

Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with freshly whipped cream.

What You'll Need

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/4 cups cranberries (about 8 ounces, fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 orange (zest and juice, divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (6 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature, 1 stick)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

How to Make It


  1. Separate the eggs. Put the egg whites in a small stainless steel or glass mixing bowl and set aside. Put the egg yolks in a small bowl or cup and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  3. Combine the brown sugar and butter in a 9-inch round cake pan (not springform) and place it in the oven. When the butter has melted, stir and continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until bubbling all over. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a rack.
  1. In a bowl, toss the cranberries with the orange juice. Sprinkle the cranberries over the brown sugar and butter mixture.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir to blend thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the 1/2 cup of butter for about 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and orange zest.
  4. Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until blended. Beat in half of the milk. Add another one-third of the flour and blend well. Beat in the remaining milk and then beat in the remaining flour mixture. Beat until well blended.
  5. With clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar or lemon juice until soft peaks form. 
  6. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  7. Spread the batter evenly over the cranberry layer.
  8. Bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, and then carefully invert it onto a cake plate.

Tips and Variations

  • Replace the cream of tartar with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Refrigerate any leftover cake for up to 3 days. If you don't have a covered cake plate, stick several toothpicks into the cake and then cover the cake with foil. The toothpicks will keep the foil off of the sticky cranberry topping.
  • If the cranberries are frozen, take them out of the freezer about 20 minutes before you plan to make the cake.
  • Eggs are much easier to separate when they're cold, so separate them and let them stand until they come to room temperature.
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 405
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 11 g
Unsaturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 131 mg
Sodium 423 mg
Carbohydrates 53 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 6 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)