I get obsessed with certain ingredients. I’ve gone cuckoo over leeks, couldn’t get enough of fennel for awhile, and currently (and rather conveniently!) I’m completely into cranberries. I want them fresh, dried, in baked goods, sneaked into savory dishes — wherever I can get ‘em! This is not unlike my shoe obsessions, Starbucks cravings, or my overwhelming desire to get pregnant. TMI? Moving on!
I think the word ‘cake’ is daunting to beginning cooks. It seems like a complicated, tricky endeavor and let’s face it, in some cases that’s true (cheesecakes take a little practice to get perfect, for example). This little baby, however, is easy-peasy and yet looks impressive when served. Beyond that, it’s delicious, so pretty and perfect for this time of year. Bring it to Christmas dinner and you’ll be the star!
Look at the beautiful color!
If you have a pretty cake stand, now’s the time to use it! I also think a dollop of fresh whipped cream (perhaps whipped with a dash of cinnamon?) would be divine. This cake holds well for up to 3 days, but I doubt it will last nearly that long . . . especially since it’s great for breakfast, too!
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
6 ounces fresh cranberries (in a pinch, frozen can be used too, just be sure to thaw first!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6.75 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (leave at room temp overnight if you have the time)
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat or non-fat milk
2 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
To prepare topping, coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray (be sure to to miss any little part of the pan or the cake will stick!).
Heat brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Pour sugar mixture into prepared cake pan, tilting pan to coat bottom evenly. Arrange cranberries evenly over sugar mixture.
To prepare cake, spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a whisk.
Place granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter into a bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Beat the egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form, using clean, dry beaters. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter over the cranberries, spreading evenly.
Bake at 350ºF for 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean (to be smart, check the cake at 40 minutes if your oven is as crazy as mine). Cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack, then loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula (or butter knife). Place a serving plate upside down on top of cake, and invert the cake pan onto the plate. Let stand 5 minutes and then remove the pan. Serve warm and makes 12 servings.