Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry upside down cake recipe

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
405 Calories
20g Fat
53g Carbs
6g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 405
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 423mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 6g
Calcium 157mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 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 (6 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (preferably aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cranberry upsidedown cake
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. 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.

    Separate eggs
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

  4. 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.

    Brown sugar
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. In a bowl, toss the cranberries with the orange juice. Sprinkle the cranberries over the brown sugar and butter mixture.

    Toss cranberries
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir to blend thoroughly and set aside.

    Combine flour and salt
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. In a mixing bowl using an electric beater, beat the granulated sugar with the 1/2 cup of butter for about 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and orange zest.

    Add egg yolks
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. 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 flour
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. 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.

    Add another egg
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. With clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar or lemon juice until soft peaks form.

    Beat egg whites
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

    Fold egg whites
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  13. Spread the batter evenly over the cranberry layer.

    Pat down batter
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  14. Bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

    Bake the cake
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  15. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes, and then carefully invert it onto a cake plate.

    Baked cake
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  16. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with freshly whipped cream.

    Serve cranberry upside down cake
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska


  • If you don't have cream of tartar, replace with 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • 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.
  • 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.