Tart cranberries and lightly sweetened, spongy cake sum up this holiday snack that’s just as good for dessert as it is for breakfast. It’s perfect to have on hand for hungry family and friends over the holidays.
When they wander into the kitchen looking for something to eat, a piece of your cake will be just what they didn’t know they wanted. It was a huge hit at my family’s Thanksgiving, and already on the request list for next November!
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake Adapted from EatingWell
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons and softened
- 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, divided
- 1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries (about 3 cups)
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (see *note)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature (see Tip)
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk, at room temperature
- Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
*Note: If you can’t find whole-wheat pastry flour (and I couldn’t), swap it for equal parts cake flour and all-purpose flour. My cake still turned out light and delicious.
*Tip: “To bring an egg to room temperature, set it on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.” -EatingWell
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Heat brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons orange juice in a large (12-inch) cast-iron or regular skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture starts to bubble. Let cool. (this smells amazing)
- Coat the sides of the skillet with cooking spray.
- Bring the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice and cranberries to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring often, until about half the cranberries have popped. Pour evenly over the cooled brown sugar mixture in the skillet.
- Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
- Separate egg whites and yolks. Place the yolks in a large bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, oil, granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the flour mixture alternately with milk, using a rubber spatula, starting and ending with the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated.
- Beat the egg whites in a clean dry mixing bowl with clean dry beaters on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest until almost no white streaks remain. Spread the batter over the cranberries.
- Bake until the top is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate.
- Let cool for at least 30 minutes more before serving. Serve warm or room temperature. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.
How to fold in egg whites:
Plunge a rubber spatula into the egg whites and draw a straight line. Gently lift the egg whites, folding them over to the left (like you would fold an omlette). Then, rotate the bowl 90 degrees counterclockwise. Again, gently lift the egg whites and fold them over to the left. Continue rotating 1/4 of a turn and folding until everything is nicely mixed.
The primary goal of folding is to keep the air in the eggwhites. This will make the cake light and spongy. It’s more important to take your time and fold properly than to rush and deflate the batter by mixing too coarsely.