Friday, November 25, 2011

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

My family unfortunately did not have the opportunity to host Thanksgiving this year, which just means Christmas dinner is going to be all the more epic. Even though I could not cook the whole feast, I had to bring something. Thanksgiving is also my Grandma's birthday, and I know she loves chocolate and cranberries. I chose cranberries because I have been looking for something to make with all the frozen cranberries in my freezer, and I have a lot (there was a deal at the last farmer's market).

I searched through several different upside down cakes and came up with this one. The cake has an almost coffee cake like texture, with the addition of sour cream. I am usually not a fan of orange zest in things, but there is just enough here that it adds a nice flavor without being overwhelming. It is super moist and a little bit sweet and tart, a real Thanksgiving winner. 

Adapted from Joy of Baking
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
2 cups fresh/frozen cranberries (about 8 ounces, do not thaw)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest
8 ounces sour cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a small saucepan heat the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved. It will bubble up some and eventually stop and begin to look smooth, about 4 minutes. Pour into the prepared cake pan and and evenly sprinkle the pecans and cranberries over the top.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). 
  4. Scrap down the sides and add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla, orange zest and sour cream. Beat to combine and scrap down the sides. Add the dry ingredients on low speed, mixing just to combine.
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and gently spread it evenly over the top of the cranberries. Transfer it to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. 
  6. Cool the cake in its pan for 5 minutes and then invert it onto a serving plate. Allow the cake to cool for another hour and serve it warm or at room temperature. 

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