Cran-Raspberry Upside-Down Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    8 to 10

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 35 to 45 minutes

I think of cranberries as the sour cherries of winter. The arpeggio of contrasting elements in this cake provides compelling flavor and texture. The sweet, tender butter cake and the tangy, tart crunch of the cranberries, mellowed by the raspberry preserves, are drawn into harmony by the billowy, creamy raspberry meringue. For a marvelous springtime version, make the rhubarb topping and strawberry meringue given in the Variation. Or, for a richer, more luxurious topping, make the strawberry whipped cream; if serving with the cran-raspberry cake, make a raspberry whipped cream by replacing the strawberry preserves in that recipe with seedless raspberry preserves.


Cranberry Topping

unsalted butter 4 tablespoons (½ stick), divided 2 ounces 57 grams
granulated sugar ½ cup 3.5 ounces 100 grams
lemon zest, finely grated 1 teaspoon, loosely packed . 2 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed 2 teaspoons (10 ml) . 10 grams
fine sea salt a pinch . .
fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, unthawed) 2 cups 7 ounces 200 grams


1 large egg, at room temperature 3 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon (47 ml) 1.8 ounces 50 grams
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon (17 ml) 0.7 ounce 19 grams
sour cream ½ cup, divided 4.3 ounces 121 grams
pure vanilla extract teaspoons (6 ml) . .
bleached all-purpose flour 1⅓ cups (sifted into the cup and leveled off) 5.3 ounces 150 grams
superfine sugar ¾ cup 5.3 ounces 150 grams
baking powder ¼ teaspoon . 1.1 grams
baking soda ¼ teaspoon . 1.4 grams
fine sea salt ¼ teaspoon . 1.5 grams
unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) 4.5 ounces 128 grams

Raspberry Glaze

seedless raspberry preserves 3 tablespoons 2.1 ounces 60 grams

Special Equipment

One 9½ inch tarte tatin pan or 9 by 2 inch round cake pan, encircled with a cake strip | A baking stone or baking sheet


Preheat the Oven

Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and place the baking stone or baking sheet on it. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Make the Cranberry Topping

In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Use about 1 tablespoon to prepare the pan: Brush a thin coat onto the bottom and sides of the pan, top with a parchment round, and brush the parchment with another coat of the melted butter.

Into the remaining butter, stir the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a light-colored silicone spatula. Stop stirring, but leave the spatula in place to judge the color, and simmer for about 3 minutes, or until bubbling thickly and light amber in color. (An instant-read thermometer should read 330° to 335°F/166° to 168°C.) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, tilting to coat evenly. Strew the cranberries on top in an even layer.

Mix the Liquid Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk the whole egg and egg yolk, 2 tablespoons/1.1 ounces/30 grams of the sour cream, and the vanilla just until lightly combined.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the batter in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter on top of the cranberries. Smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula. It will fill the pan about three-quarters full.

Bake the Cake

Set the pan on the hot stone. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown, a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 190°F/88°C.) During baking, the surface of the cake will form what appear to be many hillocks. They will flatten on unmolding.

After the first 30 minutes of baking, tent the top loosely with a dome of aluminum foil to keep the top from overbrowning.

Unmold and Cool the Cake

Set the pan on a wire rack. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake at once onto a serving plate. Leave the pan in place for 1 to 2 minutes before lifting it off. If any cranberries have stuck to the pan, use a small metal spatula to place them back on the cake. Apply the glaze while the cake is still hot.

Make and Apply the Raspberry Glaze

Heat the raspberry preserves in a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a whisk every 15 seconds (or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk), until the preserves are smooth and fluid. Brush the preserves evenly onto the cranberries.

Make the Raspberry Italian Meringue

See recipe.


Airtight: room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months.

In this section