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Cranberry Streusel Upside-Down Cake

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Serves 10 to 12

  • by Katherine Eastman Seeley from Fine Cooking
    Issue 127

A sweet cinnamon-pecan streusel layer counters the tartness of the cranberries in this tender, scrumptious cake.

For the streusel
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
For the topping
  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
For the cake
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4-1/2 oz. (9 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
Make the streusel

Combine the pecans, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter until well combined.

Make the topping

Butter a 9x2-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment.

Combine the butter and sugar in a 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until a color slightly darker than peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Add 3 Tbs. water (be careful; it will bubble and steam). Cook, stirring , until combined, about 30 seconds. Immediately pour the caramel into the cake pan. Let sit until cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes.

Pour the cranberries over the caramel, pressing them tightly together.

Make the cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, mix to combine, and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour (in 3 additions) and the buttermilk (in 2 additions), beginning and ending with the flour, and beating until just combined after each addition.

With a spatula, carefully spread half of the batter over the cranberries. Scatter the streusel over the batter. Dollop the rest of the batter over the streusel, and then carefully spread to cover. Tap the pan firmly against the counter once or twice to remove any air bubbles. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.

Cool on a rack for 35 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the pan, and rearrange any fruit that has stuck to the parchment. Serve warm or at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 400; Fat (g): 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): 10; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 53; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 220; Cholesterol (mg): 85; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

made this today, couldn't get cranberry's so used blueberry's instead, still came out really great--- I think you could use any fruit be it fresh or frozen, I really liked melting the butter and sugar adding water or dark rum (next time) to it. must remember to freeze extra cranberry's next season couldn't find them anywhere. I ate mine warm with cool whip oh!yummy

Delicious! I made it as is with frozen cranberries. Love the streusel layer. Had the same concerns as others about overflow, but no need to worry.

If I could, I would give it 6 stars. It is absolutely delicious, made with no changes and no problems. It's the tartness of the cranberries which made it so good. I did wonder if it would run over the cake-pan while baking but not a drop fell out. This recipe is a keeper. Too bad cranberries are only available for a short part of the year. I wonder if I could make it with white and red currants, also very tart, which I have in the freezer.

Great recipe. Served with sweetened whipped cream. Everyone loved it!

The cake is delicious. I did wonder about cooking the topping (caramel?) by starting with the sugar and butter but it worked out (though I did have to throw out some lumps). Next time I will use the called for pan! I used a regular cake pan and I was worried about it running over. It didn't, but a deeper pan will let me bake without worries. I did make two little changes, I used maple sugar in the streusel (hey, I had some) and added a little nutmeg to the streusel. I'd better go make some notes! I'd have given five stars but when I tried to photocopy the magazine recipe for my cookbook (family favorites with room for notes) the type was really hard to read on the blue background. The online version of the recipe is two pages instead of one. Easier to read but I will have to flip the page back and forth, annoying!

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