Food & Entertaining - Garden to Table

Cranberry upside-down cake

By
Carol Dudar
Photography by
Debra Thier

This easy-to-make cake is a festive ending to any holiday dinner

Cranberry upside-down cake

Serves 6 to 8 

Topping ingredients
6 tbsp. (90 mL) unsalted butter
3 cups (750 mL) fresh cranberries, washed
9 tbsp. (135 mL) maple syrup
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp. (15 mL) lemon zest

Cake ingredients
11⁄4 cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
21⁄2 tsp. (12 mL) baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. (1 mL) salt
1⁄4 tsp. (1 mL) nutmeg
3⁄4 cup (175 mL) yellow cornmeal, preferably coarse
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) granulated sugar
6 tbsp. (90 mL) melted unsalted butter
3⁄4 cup (175 mL) buttermilk
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
1⁄2 tsp. (2 mL) vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
1 tbsp. (15 mL) lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, set aside. Butter and flour an 8-inch, nonstick cake pan, set aside.

In a large, heavy-based skillet, melt butter for topping over medium heat until it sizzles. Add cranberries and cook gently until shiny, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients for topping and cook, stirring frequently, until cranberries are softened but still retain their shape, about 5 minutes. Remove cranberries with a slotted spoon and transfer onto the prepared baking sheet. Set syrup mixture aside. When cranberries are slightly cooled, spread evenly over bottom of cake pan.

Return skillet to medium heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Do not overcook syrup or it will burn. Immediately pour over cranberries and let cool.

Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg together in a medium-size bowl. Add cornmeal and sugar; mix well with a fork. In a smaller bowl, add melted butter, buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla, egg and lemon zest. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Gently fold together until batter is just blended. Carefully spread evenly over cranberries.

Place cake pan onto baking sheet, lined with new aluminum foil, and place in oven. (The cake will temporarily rise higher than the pan while it is baking.) Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown or until toothpick comes out clean.

Place on cooling rack for 15 to 20 minutes. Gently slide a plastic knife or spatula around edges of pan to loosen cake. Invert cake pan on a flat plate and let rest upside down for 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or ice cream.

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