A few times a semester my graduate program holds a potluck during which grad students and faculty get together over good food and wine and then listen to an advanced grad student give a talk on his or her dissertation. Because I commute almost two hours to get to campus, I always try to make a dessert to bring since they tend to travel well and can handle a few hours unrefrigerated.
So far, I haven’t met an upside down cake I didn’t love. I made this cranberry version for last year’s Thanksgiving-themed potluck. I just love the way the tartness of the cranberries offsets the sweetness of the cake. It was a hit with everyone, and I’m excited to see cranberries appear in the supermarket soon so that I can make it again.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- unsalted butter or cooking spray
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 12 Tb unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tb unsulphured molasses
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- 2-2.5 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Grab a 9-inch round cake pan and grease with butter or cooking spray. be sure to add a piece of parchment paper to the bottom as well to avoid sticking.
- In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, 4Tb butter, molasses, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Stir the mixture well and pour into prepared cake pan, setting it aside.
- In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Using your electric mixer or a handmixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sour cream/yogurt until blended.
- Add extracts and spices to the bowl.
- Scrape down the bowl, add remaining 1/2 cup of butter, and beat until combined
- Add flour mix to the bowl and beat until smooth.
- Throw the cranberries into the baking pan and softly press the berries into an even layer.
- Gently transfer the batter onto the cranberries, using a spatula to press it into the pan without moving the cranberries
- Bake on the center rack for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. As always, follow your notes and check early!
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes
- Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake.
- Grab a plate larger than the cake pan, set it atop the pan, and then in a swift move flip the pan over to release the cake.
- Remove the parchment paper and enjoy!