I was thrilled when Claire asked me to be a part of her and Taylor's Merry Mondays. I was very excited to see cranberries were the first featured ingredient. I love cranberries and have made lots of delicious dishes including them recently.
I have been trying to plan out my holiday treats, and the options are endless. She didn’t specify whether we were suppose to make sweets or savories with the week’s ingredient. I’m assuming a dessert/treat since it’s holiday baking time. I had half a bag of cranberries left over from Thanksgiving that I hadn’t decided what to do with. While flipping through this year’s Cook’s Illustrated holiday baking magazine I saw this recipe for cranberry upside down cake. I’ve never made, nor eaten an upside down cake. I’m not sure why, I guess they never appealed to me very much. I thought it would be fun to try something new. I didn’t want a big 9” cake, since I knew the two of us wouldn’t be able to eat it, so I halved the recipe.
I tried a piece as soon as it was slightly cooled, and it was okay. However, when I went to have a piece a day later, it was so much better. (I had it sitting, covered, at room temp). I also added a (generous) dollop of whipped cream. Yum, this was a tasty, different kind of dessert, more tart than sweet. Which is perfect for the holiday season when I'm usually overloaded on sweet treats. I wish I had thought to put a splash of bourbon in the cranberry topping, that would also have taken it up a notch. Why is it that bourbon makes everything taste better? Also, I split this up between two pans, and that made the cake a bit too thin in my opinion. So next time I’ll just keep in all in one 4½ inch pan.
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
for the topping:
3 Tbl butter
6 oz (~1 ½ c) cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed, if frozen)
¼ c + 2 Tbl sugar
1 Tbl seedless raspberry jam (I used apple plum)
¼ tsp vanilla
1 tsp bourbon (opt)
for the cake:
½ oz (~2 Tbl) slivered almonds
½ c flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ c milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ c + 2 Tbl sugar
2 large eggs, separated
whipped cream, opt, but really good
Line the bottom of one (or two) 4 ½ inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper and sides of the pan. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350.
make the topping:
In a microwave safe bowl combine all the topping ingredients except the vanilla extract. Microwave 3 minutes, covered with a paper plate. You want your cranberries to be softened. I needed to go an additional 45 seconds.
CI does this step on the stove, heating the cranberries for 4 minutes, straining them over a bowl, reserving the juice. Then reducing the juice until syrupy and 1 c of liquid. When I strained my microwaved berries, there was about 1/3 c juice, and it was already thick and syrupy so I didn’t need to reduce it. I just poured the berries and juice in the cake pan.
Refrigerate 30 minutes, while you make the cake.
make the cake:
Process almonds and 2 Tbl flour in food processor until finely ground, ~10 sec. Add the remaining ¼ c flour, baking powder, and salt, pulse to combine. Set aside.
Add milk, vanilla, and almond extract to a small bowl. Whisk to combine; set aside.
In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, ~2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating it with 2 additions of the milk mixture.
In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks. Whisk in 1/3 of whites into the batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour batter over cranberry topping.
Bake until golden and inserted pick comes out clean, ~25-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack, then run a knife around sides of pan. Invert onto serving plate. Serve with whipped cream.
source: Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking 2011