Fresh Cranberry Upside-Down Cake – A quick & easy Bake and Take Gift


For years…childhood years…I thought cranberries only came in a can with jelly. It never occurred to me that somewhere far, far away the origins of this jellied staple of Holiday dinners grew on bushes in bogs.

In adulthood I discovered the wonderfulness of whole fresh cranberries and I have never looked back. My love of all-things-cranberry…the color, the tartness that is transformed with a bit or sugar or molasses, the texture when you bite into one…seems to take over my kitchen every holiday season.

This is one of the most tender cake I have ever made. The sweet-tart  cranberry-sugar topping is a modern, seasonal riff on the classic upside-down cake.

Cake pan is batter ready……


…baked and cooling ready to be…..


…turned upside-down. Love the color and texture and oh my so good.



If you plan to bake and take a dessert to a dinner or gathering this December and you have limited time this would be the one to bake!

My Cranberry Orange Simple Syrup recipe is another you might like to try for gifting or just having on hand for quick cocktails.  More recently I posted my really easy recipe for Cranberry-Pomegranate Cordial.

Have a Happy Holiday. Eat Well, Share and give what you can.

Fresh Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print



  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened + extra for grease cake pan
  • 1/2 cup white sugar mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh whole cranberries (can use fresh frozen & thawed)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar optional or a Vanilla Ice Cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the sides and bottom of an 8 inch cake pan with 1 tbsp of butter.
  3. Sprinkle the bottom of the cake pan with the white sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  4. Pour fresh whole cranberries into the cake pan. Gently shake pan to “settle” the cranberries.
  5. Using an electric mixer cream the softened stick of butter with the 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add in the egg & vanilla extract and beat until well blended.
  6. In a small bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.
  7. Turn mixer to low and alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk and beat just until combined. Scrape down mixing bowl as needed.
  8. Scrape batter over the cranberries in the cake pan and smooth top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove cake pan to a cooling rack for about 15 minutes.
  9. Turn cake out onto a serving plate or cake stand. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen if need be. Serve warm or at room temperature with or without a dusting of powdered sugar or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This cake recipe is based on one I saved from a Martha Stewart Magazine a few years ago. It is a very moist cake as the sugar cinnamon mixture and the cranberries caramelize while baking. When the cake is turned upside down gravity takes over and the result is a tender moist cake.

Teresa Blackburn

22 thoughts on “Fresh Cranberry Upside-Down Cake – A quick & easy Bake and Take Gift

  1. Made this tonight and it was a hit! I doubled the recipe for a crowd and increased the baking time by 10 minutes so my cranberries ended up a bit more solid but it was still really delicious! Thanks Teresa no Merry Christmas! 🎄⭐️🎄

    1. Oh I am so happy your version turned out good…it is always nice to hear that one’s recipes actually work for other people. I also just made a version with cornmeal added to the batter and it was even better!! I so appreciate your comments and visits Johanne.

    1. Thanks but just so you know you can use whole frozen as well for this recipe. I have made it both ways and it really turns out well either way. Happy New Year to you in Sydney!

  2. Love any kind of upside down cakes, and with the cranberries, your cake looks ever so festive just in time for the season! I love baking with cranberries too, I’ve used both fresh and the frozen kind and they both end up baking beautifully. Best wishes for a very Happy New Year Teresa 🙂

  3. Hi Teresa, I’m a little late to this party but I’m still going to bake this cake…it looks wonderful! Is the buttermilk essential to this recipe or could I swap just regular milk? If not I can always make buttermilk with a little lemon juice or white vinegar right? If so, which would you use? Lemon or Vinegar?

    1. Chris thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and ask this very good question. I just answered via email. I will try to keep up with questions in the future. Much appreciated. Let me know how your cake turns out. T

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