Mid-morning coffee and sweets make for an exquisite Mother’s Day…
I love baking with cranberries – whether they be fresh, frozen, or dried – they add a nice tang to anything sweet. For Mother’s Day this year, I really wanted to bake my mom a pretty, yet simple cake… nothing extravagant but perfect to have in the morning with coffee and tea. As I am known for making use of whatever’s in my kitchen at the time, I suddenly remembered I still had a bag of frozen cranberries in my freezer from when I was making chutneys in the fall, so I thought this would be perfect. I also recalled my mom really liking an upside-down plum cake I had tried a while back, so I figure why not do the same thing with cranberries? I found a recipe for one from Smitten Kitchen that mentioned some adjustments, so I tweaked it a bit according to their suggestions, adding vanilla and lemon zest to the cake batter. I also added ginger too, although I couldn’t quite taste it against the tartness so much so maybe I’ll add more next time. And I also added golden raisins to the cranberries to give the cake a little more color, which resulted in a sweeter flavor as well. Definitely one of my favorite cakes I’ve made so far.
Upside-Down Cranberry-Caramel Cake
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen
• 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
• 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted (plus more for greasing pan)
• 1 Tbsp. unsulphured molasses
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 3 large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cup sour cream
• 2-3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
• 1/2 cup golden raisins
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp. grated lemon zest
• 1/2 tsp. ginger
(1) Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9-ich round cake pan with butter and cover the bottom with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, 4 tbsp. (1/4 cup) of the melted butter, molasses, and 1/4 cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir well and pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, then set it aside.
(2) Sift the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together into a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or with a standard hand mixer, which I always use as I have no such fancy equipment), beat the eggs and sour cream together at medium speed until well blended. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and ginger, or any other optional flavorings of your choice. Scrape down the bowl and add the remaining melted butter (1/2 cup) and beat until well combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth.
(3) Add the cranberries to the prepared baking pan and press them into an even layer (the caramel mixture will begin to harden if you’re using frozen cranberries like I did). Fill in the gaps with the golden raisins, arranging them so that they would be able to be seen from the top. Dollop the cake batter on top and use an offset spatula to lightly nudge it into place without disturbing the layer of cranberries underneath.
(4) Bake on the center rack, with a tray underneath to catch drips just in case the cake overflows, until golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes (although you might want to check it at 30-35 to be safe). Remove from the oven and let cool in pan for 15 minutes (I used this time to drive the cake over to my mom’s house so I could later invert and eat it there, hehe!). Run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake, although it should already be loosened from the caramel coming through from underneath, then put a flat platter over it (one that is much larger than the cake pan) and flip it over. Voila! Remove the parchment paper and you should have a stunning upside-down cake that looks like this:
pretty, don’t you think?
the sour cream was the essence of the batter I think, making the inside quite moist.
The leftovers. My mom and I had no problem helping ourselves to seconds. And thirds.