Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

I really do like cranberries, and I always make a nice big pan of them for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but I never really end up eating them.  I think it’s sort of like the dinner roll thing… there is only so much room in the stomach and choices must be made.  Turkey and stuffing trump rolls and cranberries just about every time.

So I’m always looking for other ways to get cranberries into my life during the holidays, and this may become one of my favorites, besides these.  As I was making this, I was a little worried that maybe the cranberry topping was going to be too sweet… I really wanted the tartness of the cranberries to come through.  I needn’t have worried.  The balance between sweet and tart seemed about perfect here, and the cake was moist and just a wondrous platform to showcase those beautiful cranberries.

And did I mention how easy this is to make?  I mean like ridiculous easy.  It bakes in your skillet, which I love – no cake pans to wash.  I just wish I’d discovered this sooner.

I probably won’t indulge in the cranberry sauce again at dinner this Thanksgiving, but I feel so much better about it now that I can get my cranberry fix here.


Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle


2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

Cake Batter

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

Whipped cream or ice cream, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use a skillet with a 2-quart capacity. If your skillet has a wooden or inflammable handle, wrap it in several layers of aluminum foil.

Put the cranberries in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Remove any soft or shriveled cranberries and discard. Shake the colander to get rid of excess water. Set aside.

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat and stir in the brown sugar. Continue to cook, stirring until the sugar melts and is bubbling a little. Remove from the burner and add the cranberries, spreading them in a single layer in the sauce. Set the skillet aside while you prepare the batter.

Cream the shortening and sugar and add the vanilla and eggs. Beat the mixture until it is all one color and smooth.  Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and then add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, along with the milk, beating until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.

Spread the batter evenly over the cranberries.

Bake for about 30 minutes, but check the cake for doneness after 25 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes, then put a large serving plate over the skillet and turn the skillet upside down. Serve warm or at room temperature.