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Cranberry Streusel Upside-Down Cake

Scott Phillips

Servings: 10 to 12

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

Nutritional Information

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


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 9×2-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.


Rate or Review

Reviews (13 reviews)

  • TruckeeGirl | 03/02/2018

    This is a delicious cake! One change I had to make was not to add the water to the caramel because once I did, the caramel seized up and most of it hardened like a rock. I had to make it over and I did not add the water--perfect! I also had the issue of overflow, so next time I will use a bigger pan. I highly recommend this cake--my parents, husband, friends, and teenagers all loved it!

  • user-4642151 | 11/27/2017

    How far in advance can this dessert be made? Would making it the day before be possible?

  • chefwannabe | 12/17/2016

    The streusel really takes this cake to another level.Surprisingly, everything comes together. The cranberries are perfect..not too tart.the only problem was it's too much for a regular 9 inch cake pan. Mine overflowed.

  • LArcher | 10/19/2016

    I was able to get fresh cranberries on sale this week and thought I would try out this recipe. So good! I thought it might be really sweet with the caramel but the caramel really offset the tartness of the cranberries. I will definitely make this again because I froze a couple of bags a fresh cranberries to use around Christmas time.

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