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Cranberry Sauce Upside-Down Cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

What do you do with leftover cranberry sauce after the turkey is gone? Cranberry sauce keeps for months, probably longer, but why not use it for a holiday-ish cake topping. I was chatting with blogger Amy Sherman who mentioned baking a cranberry upside-down cake for Thanksgiving. She’d baked such a cake a couple years earlier, but couldn’t remember the recipe. Until her mother searched the internet and found the recipe on Martha Stewart’s site, WITH Amy’s comment.  So it goes for recipe developers, we forget what we’ve done once we move on to the next recipe!

I liked the idea of cranberry cake so I started with Martha’s recipe, added almond meal, orange zest and almond extract to the cake, and replaced fresh cranberries with a ginger-orange-cranberry sauce. I didn’t have leftover sauce after Thanksgiving, but had plenty of cranberries in the freezer for a fresh batch of sauce. It’s so easy, I don’t understand buying canned. Just simmer fresh or frozen cranberries with water and sugar (as the package directs). I usually use less sugar so it’s a tad tart-sweet. Use your favorite cranberry sauce, other than jellied which I don’t think would be right for this cake. I’m pretty sure you’ll never have leftover cranberry sauce for long after you try this cake. You’ll be looking for more sauce to bake another cake!

Cranberry Sauce Upside-Down Cake




Author Rosie

Yield on 9-inch cake 8 servings


1/2 cup butter, softened (divided use)

1 cup cranberry sauce (divided use) – see sauce note*

2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger, optional

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1-1/2 teaspoons orange zest

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (lightly packed) almond meal (or 3 tablespoons flour may be substituted)

1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk


PREHEAT oven to 350F.

Generously spread 2 tablespoons butter on the bottom of a 9-inch metal or glass baking dish.  It will be a thick layer and it does not need to be super even — don’t skimp, the cranberry needs the butter for the upside-down topping. If using ginger, stir it into sauce. Spread 3/4 cup sauce over the butter to about 1/2-inch from the edge of the pan.

BEAT remaining 6 tablespoons butter and sugar with an electric mixture until fluffy. Beat in egg, orange zest and almond extract.

WHISK together flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.

ADD flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk, beating after each addition and scraping sides of bowl. Beat  on medium speed 30 seconds until smooth.

SPREAD batter over cranberry sauce. Bake 25-30 minutes until cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched.

IMMEDIATELY INVERT cake onto a plate. Let stand 2 minutes then remove pan.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup sauce for a fresh, lush look. Serve slightly warm or cool completely. Cake keeps at room temperature, covered, for  3-4 days .


Ginger-Orange Cranberry Sauce Combine 12 ounces (1 bag) fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered stirring occasionally until about half the berries burst, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Sauce will thicken.

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  1. Betsy Bateson
    Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Sounds fabulous. I plan to make it for Christmas breakfast.
    Thanks for reinventing the recipe.

    • Rosie's Kitchen
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Glad to hear that Betsy! We’ve been enjoying my tests for quite a few days. Hope your family enjoys it too. Merry Christmas!

  2. Posted December 12, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    What an excellent idea, to make a cake with leftover cranberry sauce! Genuis! (And I like your photo :))

    • Rosie's Kitchen
      Posted December 12, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Jill! Cranberry sauce usually languishes in my fridge after the holidays, so I’m really glad Amy’s mention gave me the idea.

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