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Thanksgiving cranberry upside down cake

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Author Notes

As soon as I became capable of baking, I was put in charge of Thanksgiving desserts (my dad was in charge of sweet potatoes and cranberries, my mom was in charge of everything else, and my brothers, well, they ate). In addition to pumpkin pie, this cake was a constant on the menu, and it held it’s own against the pie as preferred dessert. It balances tart cranberries with the deep caramelly flavor of brown sugar, supported by a moist but not overly heavy cake. And even when we were way underage, cognac whipped cream was a must. —fiveandspice

  • Serves
    about 8

  • 3 tablespoons

    melted butter, plus a little more for greasing the sides of the pan

  • 1/2 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    toasted pecans, finely chopped

  • 12 ounces

    fresh cranberries, washed

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon


  • 3/4 cup


  • 4 tablespoons

    softened butter (unsalted)

  • 2

    large eggs, yolks and whites separated

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup

    whole milk

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream, chilled

  • 2 tablespoons


  • 1-2 tablespoons


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease and 8X8″ baking pan. Pour the 3 Tbs. melted butter into the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake for 2 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle in the pecans and the cranberries (the berries will make a fairly thick layer). Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt). In a large bowl, cream together the 3/4 cup sugar and the softened butter until well combined. Then, beat in the egg yolks and the vanilla.
  3. Add in the dry ingredients and the milk alternately in about 3 additions, mixing well after each addition. Start and end with the dry ingredients.
  4. In a standing mixer or using a clean electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  5. Spread the batter over the cranberries and sugar in the baking pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the cake is golden and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean (unless you poke all the way down to the cranberries!). Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen them. Place a plate upside down on top of the cake pan, then invert the cake onto the plate.
  6. In a chilled metal bowl and using chilled beaters beat the whipping cream and 2 Tbs. sugar until soft peaks form. Whip in the cognac.
  7. Serve the cake slightly warm topped with dollops of the cognac cream.

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