Cranberry Upside Down Cake. {Recipe}

Blog, Cakes, Fruit, Holiday Projects, Recipes, Winter Recipes

Happy 2018! I hope you had a wonderful holiday surrounded by friends, family, and delicious food.

I’m excited to share this recipe for Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Orange and Rum that I baked up between Christmas and the New Year.

It has that tart cranberry flavor which I find irresistible, and I hope you do too (in fact, I’m nibbling on a piece as I type this sentence).

The top is studded with tart cranberries which are cooked below a citrusy, buttery cake with the most tender crumb thanks to the buttermilk and cake flour.

My favourite part of making an upside-down cake is un-molding it because when the cake pan is removed you reveal the vibrant fruit covering the top as the steam scented with brown sugar, butter, and rum rises.

The cranberry upside down cake can be served plain, with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla (or ginger!) ice cream. Or maybe you want to nibble it straight from the plate, cutting off small slivers until the whole cake disappears. Whichever way you choose to eat this cake, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.  Let’s get to the recipe.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Orange and Rum.

1 9 inch cake, serves 10-12

Tools + Ingredients


Stand Mixer with Paddle Attachment

9″ by 3″ Cake Pan (if you don’t have one this tall you may wish to use a 10” diameter 2” tall cake pan to prevent it from overflowing)




Silicone Spatula

Small Offset Spatula

Cranberry, Brown Sugar and Rum Topping

300g fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries

80g butter, cut into smaller chunks

150g brown sugar

1/3 of an orange’s zest* (see note)

15mL rum or orange juice

Orange Butter Cake

130g butter, room temperature

140g granulated sugar

60g brown sugar

2/3 of an orange’s zest (remaining from topping)*(see note)

2pc eggs, room temperature** (see note)

1/2tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

1 1/4tsp baking powder

125g pastry flour

50g all-purpose flour

75g buttermilk

50g orange juice, squeezed from the zested orange



*use a Microplane or fine grater to get the finest zest from your orange and don’t include any of the pith (white part) when zesting since this will add unwanted bitterness to the cake

**quickly warm up eggs from the fridge by placing them in a bowl filled with hot tap water, it only takes a few minutes


Don’t have a kitchen scale? Check out my favourite cup to gram conversion chart here.

Using cup measures instead of weight can be tricky and inaccurate for dry ingredients so I recommend investing in a scale if you can. There’s tons of different options to choose from like this, this or this.


Some of these product links are affiliate links which means when you make a purchase, I will make a commission. This is at no extra cost to you and helps to support this blog (thank you!). I have tried and loved all the products I recommend and link to, but I recommend them first and foremost because they are useful, not because of the small commission received when you purchase them.



Cranberry, Brown Sugar and Rum Topping
  1. Place Butter, Brown Sugar, 1/3 of an orange’s zest and the rum (or orange juice) into your cake pan. Heat over the stove on low until the butter is melted and the brown sugar is beginning to bubble and dissolve. Remove from the heat.
  2. Add all Cranberries and stir until they’re evenly coated in the mixture and level them out. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered and the cranberries will fit snugly almost all in one layer, then set aside.
Orange Butter Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/177C.
  2. Place Butter, Granulated Sugar and Brown Sugar along with 2/3 the zest of one Orange into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high (6 on a KitchenAid), scraping the bowl as necessary, until very light and fluffy- about 6 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, crack your eggs in a small bowl. Next, sift Pastry Flour, All-Purpose Flour and Baking Powder into a medium bowl, add the salt and whisk well until incorporated. Lastly, scale your buttermilk and orange juice together in a small bowl then give it a quick whisk.
  4. Scrape down the mixer bowl once again when the butter mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs one by one waiting until the first is completely incorporated before adding the next. Let the mixer beat for about 1 minute on medium until very fluffy.
  5. Next, alternate adding dry and wet ingredients into the mixer. Add them in this sequence- dry, wet, dry, wet, dry- always starting and ending with dry and scraping down the bowl between each addition. Only just allow the ingredients to come together, you don’t want to over-mix which can result in toughness/gumminess from over-development of gluten.
  6. Finally, finish the batter by folding it a few times with a silicone spatula to make sure the whole bowl is scraped down and the mixture is homogenous. (Don’t over mix!)
  7. Before you add the batter to your cranberry mixture give the sides of your cake pan a quick brushing of butter to prevent the edges from sticking. We couldn’t do this before since the pan was still hot from melting the brown sugar mixture over the stove.
  8. Dollop the batter evenly over the cranberries and smooth it out using your small offset spatula.
  9. Bake on the center rack of the oven from anywhere between 45 and 60 minutes, until the cake springs back to the touch. A skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean (there will be some cranberry juices and a couple crumbs clinging to it which is totally fine, as long as there’s no raw batter).

(un-molding continued below)

  1. When your cake comes out of the oven set a timer for 15 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for that time and when the timer goes off it’s ready to unmold.
  2. To unmold successfully- place the cake over the stove and turn it onto a low heat. Leave it there for 10-15 seconds just so you can reheat the juices of the cranberries. Run your small offset spatula around the cake to loosen it from the edges, and invert a plate or cake stand on top of it. With oven mitts on, flip the cake in one swift motion, holding the pan firmly to the plate so your cake is now upside-down. Slowly remove the cake pan giving it a little jiggle if necessary to coax the cake cleanly out. If there are any cranberries left in the pan you can add them back to the cake (or eat them, you just baked a whole cake from scratch! It’s well deserved).
  3. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature plain, with sweetened whipped cream, or ice-cream (vanilla, ginger, or whatever you’re in the mood for). It will keep for around 3 days tightly covered at room temperature, if it lasts that long.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried (or will be trying) this recipe! Can’t wait to see what you bake up 🙂  -A