Wednesday 27 January 2016

Cranberry Jewels

When I did my post for the Cake Slice Bakers last week, I mentioned that I had wanted to make a Cranberry Upside Down Cake but couldn't find any fresh cranberries in any of the major supermarkets... apparently they are "only available in December as there isn't the demand". Why that might be when we can get out of season stuff like strawberries and asparagus in December I really don't understand (I feel I should add I never have the slightest desire to eat either of those in December, but I digress). Anyway, the very next day I was in our farm shop and lo and behold they had fresh cranberries sitting there in their chiller cabinet. So being very demanding, I bought them!

Except for cranberry sauce I've never really used fresh cranberries that much, possibly because they are not available for most of the year so I had no idea what this would turn out like. It was such a simple cake to put together, that I could see it being overlooked as something too plain to bother with but I can honestly say was one of the nicest cakes I've ever tasted and I would have no hesitation serving this on a special occasion. Slightly tart but not mouth wincingly so, with an almost equal combination of fruity topping and vanilla scented cake.

We had it for pudding last night, served at room temperature with a dollop of cold vanilla cream and it was exquisite. The boys both had second helpings but there is just enough for another slice each tonight... I can't wait! There were a couple of changes made to the original recipe. My bag of cranberries only yielded 3 cups not 4, I was short on milk so used half milk and half sour cream which I just happened to have... and I completely forgot to add the grated orange rind but it was hard to see how this cake could be any better so I'm not sure how important these little tweeks were. What follows is my version of the recipe. I did use a loose bottomed tin because I don't have any other sort of  9" (23cm) tin  but there was some leakage so I would suggest not using a loose bottomed tin if possible. You will also notice I have stuck to the original cup & imperial measurements because I made it in a hurry before I went to work yesterday so didn't have time to convert them. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to buy any remaining bags of cranberries I can find to pop them in the freezer. And do make this cake... everyone neeeds a slice of this in their lives!

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Ingredients (all at room temperature) :
  • 3-4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 5 oz unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted plain flour 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup redcurrant jelly (I didn't have this so used some homemade apple and sloe jelly that was lurking in the fridge - I think any jelly would work)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg C (160 fan), 350 deg F, Gas no. 4
  2. Wash the cranberries, discarding any stalks and lay to dry on a tea towel 
  3. Use 2 oz of the butter to lightly grease the sides of a 9" round cake tin, spreading the remaining butter in an even layer over the base of the tin (I used my fingers!)
  4. Sprinkle half a cup plus the 2 tablespoons of sugar over the butter and then add the cranberries on top of the sugar.
  5. Sift together the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt.
  6. Using a hand mixer, beat the remaining butter until soft and gradually beat in the egg and vanilla. Then on a low speed add the flour in three batches alternating with the milk/sour cream.
  7. Pour the cake batter over the cranberries, smoothing the top.
  8. Bake for 1 hour (although mine was cooked after about 50 mins)
  9. Cool on a rack for 20 minutes, although after 10 minutes run a small sharp knife around the cake to release the sides.
  10. Meanwhile heat the jelly in a small pan until it melts and comes to the boil.
  11. After 20 minutes cover the cake tin with a large flat plate then holding them firmly together turn them over releasing the cake.
  12. Pour the melted jelly over the top of the cake, spreading it to the edge and leave it to cool completely.
  13. Serve at room temperature with either cold whipped cream (with a little sugar and vanilla added) or vanilla ice cream.
Adapted from Maida Heatter's Cakes


  1. I always stock up on fresh cranberries, especially so when the price is knocked down after Christmas. This week I added them to some apple and dried apricot crumble. Like you I like the piquancy they add. Last year I made a cake similar to this and may well come back to your recipe if ai find some cranberries before winter- if that's what it is - is over. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

  2. It looks amazing Gina and a recipe I shall definitely try as I am not keen on sweet "sweets". Hope I can find some cranberries tomorrow when I go shopping!

  3. I'm so pleased you were able to find Cranberries Gina, I always tend to buy mine from Sainsbury and Waitrose, they also sell them at our local market. It looks delicious and I hope you enjoy your last slice :)

  4. I rather like the sound of this. :-)

  5. Oh yum, I like the combination of slight tartness and sweetness. I have tons of redcurrant in the freezer and wonder if they might be too soft as a substitute? x

  6. Your cake sounds lovely. I love cranberries and it is a shame they are only available for a few weeks before Christmas.

  7. It looks beautiful and I'm sure it tastes wonderful. The trouble is I don't have a couple of hungry young men to help me eat it.

  8. Looks good, but I think we both know I won't be attempting to make it! x

  9. Gina, thanks for sharing this recipe. Here's a coincidence...while at the farmers market today, I did pass by a farmer's stand that had quite a lavish display of cranberries for sale. If I see them again next week, perhaps I'll remember to mention your cake and ask if they'd like the recipe.

    Our blizzard's worth of snow is just about all gone now.


  10. Yes, the tartness was surprisingly A-okay! and when served with cold whipped cream... delish! I am glad you gave this cake a try and probably a second, third, and fourth too!

  11. ps: how did you find The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. My copy is looking at me from across the room....

  12. Yum, I think I shall give this a try, but I will have to use thawed out frozen cranberries as we never see fresh ones. Much to my disgust, we can no longer buy redcurrant jelly here either, but I have substituted guava jelly in recipes instead - you have probably not heard of guava jelly. The trees grow wild around here and are regularly raided for their fruit which makes wonderful jelly. Cheers

  13. Hi Gina, now you keep tempting us with these cakes ( instead of making sock creatures) when can I come for tea? πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ vera

  14. Oh, that does look good and a lovely tangy change from the usual pineapple.

  15. It sounds fabulous! It bugs me too about the fresh cranberries, I buy a couple of bags and freeze them, they freeze really well. xx

  16. It sounds absolutely delicious, I shall look out for some fresh cranberries!

  17. Looks delish! I shall have to try and find some fresh cranberries to give your recipe a try. I baked 4 dozen mince pies using your recipe from years ago, as it is such a good recipe.


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