Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake

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Happy Nov. 1st! Can you believe it’s November already? How did we get here so fast?

Is November 1 too soon for eggnog stuff? What about gingerbread? I’m nearly ready to get out my Christmas decor, so in my mind, anything’s game! How do we feel about cranberries? In this case, cranberries are paired with pumpkin so it really bridges the gap between fall baking and true holiday baking anyway! Right? That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

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I am SO excited for the holidays. This is my favorite time of the year. I really get ahead of myself though. Halloween was just yesterday, yet I will probably start listening to Christmas music, like, tomorrow. I am part of the reason you see Christmas decorations in stores in September.

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Getting a head start on holiday baking is also how I roll. I really like to extend and elongate all the festive activities as long as I can. The decorations, the movies and music, the food, all of it. Did I mention the decorations? I have A LOT of those. I’m an over-zealous holiday celebrator… well, minus Halloween and Valentine’s Day. They’re alright.

What’s funny about being such an over-the-top holiday person is that S.O. is very, very much NOT. He’s a scrooge in every sense of the word! His disdain isn’t for one particular holiday either. It’s basically all of them! He’s just not a holiday person. I think it’s the pressure? If you like the guy, you learn to find this behavior endearing and almost hysterical. But if it were up to him, holidays would pass by unnoticed and be just like every other day. If you’re like me, you have 3 different Christmas trees, each with a different theme. :)

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At least he can get on board with the food aspect of holidays. It’s a big help having him around to taste-test (and then some). This cake, for example. We found it to be a perfect cake for fall, Thanksgiving dinner, or even brunch. It could totally pass as a coffee cake. It’s moist and rich, and the cranberries are so pretty and festive, like red jewels. They’re also coated in brown sugar and butter, so they taste like a dream. A slightly tart and tangy dream. Oh, and there’s also cinnamon. Everything needs cinnamon this time of year.

Plus, it’s easy. Super easy. As in, you don’t need a mixer and prep time is minimal. So you get an amazingly delicious, seasonal, festive, and pretty cake with little effort. That’s a baker’s dream, friends!

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A delicious and moist upside down pumpkin cake, with brown sugar and cranberry topping!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 9 3-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 c. fresh cranberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1½ c. flour
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  1. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.
  2. Pour melted butter into pan, covering the entire bottom.
  3. Evenly sprinkle brown sugar over butter.
  4. Evenly sprinkle the cranberries over the brown sugar.
  5. In a large bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin puree, and oil. Whisk until well-blended.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine flour and remaining ingredients. Mix until well-blended.
  7. Add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, and stir until just combined.
  8. Carefully spread the batter over the cranberries in the pan.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, and edges are golden brown.
  10. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Place a large platter on top of the cake, and invert.
  11. Cool for an additional 15 minutes. Best served warm. Enjoy!

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Next up: gingerbread stuff!


pumpkin cranberry upside down cake pin


    • says

      Oh, great! I’m so glad you like this recipe! I really love them too, but I don’t make them enough! I want to work on that! This was a fun seasonal version though. :) Thanks, Manali!

  1. says

    I’m so excited for Christmas, too! Although I’m waiting a few more weeks to put up my Christmas decorations, I’m already thinking about what holiday goodies I want to bake. And I can’t wait to start watching Christmas movies! I absolutely love your creativity on this cake, Sarah! What a fantastic idea to combine cranberries with pumpkin. I love the touch of brown sugar, too. And gorgeous pictures! Pinned!

    • says

      I looooove Christmas movies! I watch “Elf” like 8x every year! I’m totally w/ you on that. I get out my decorations way too early (I’m my mother’s daughter), but I swear it takes a few days to get them unpacked and set up. Haha! I can’t wait!! It will be so fun to see everyone else’s holiday recipes too. :)

  2. says

    This is so pretty! I love the cranberries, so bright and festive! And I’m totally with you on extending Christmas stuff, I always have the Christmas music playing far before my husband is ready for it, and like to start the baking early, that way you can do more of it! And I swear my baking list gets longer every year, as there’s more and more favourites! Also, I’ve never made an upside down cake. Why? They always look amazing! :)

    • says

      Lol! I feel the same about ALL of that! I am such a holiday person and I love every part of them! I can’t wait to dive into holiday baking! Soooo excited!

      You totally need to add an upside down cake to your ever-growing list of baking ideas! Even a standard pineapple one is delicious. They’re honestly quite easy too! :)

    • says

      Hahaha! I am always getting ahead of myself. I agree it’s too soon for eggnog stuff, but I still can’t wait for it. I’m sure you’re getting super excited for holiday baking too! Thanks, Zainab! :)

    • says

      Hi Kathleen! So happy to have you here! I’m working on a Recipe Index right now, but you can find things pretty well by category! Thanks so much for stopping by, and I’m so happy you like my site so far! :)

  3. Lizzie says

    I don’t have a 9″x9″ baking dish. Do you suppose I could use a 9″ round one instead? The volumes for those are pretty close so it shouldn’t change the baking time …? I don’t know why I get antsy over this stuff, but I do. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Hi Lizzie! Yes, I think that’d work fine! I’ve only made it in a square, but the proportions should be very similar! You might want to just watch the timer more closely and set it a little shy so that you can check it. You should be fine. I get antsy too – especially if I’m taking it to dinner or party or something! Let me know how you do!

      • Lizzie says

        Thanks, Sarah. I’m making it for a gathering at our home that night, so need it to be right. I’m “of the age” that acquiring a new baking dish that I might use once is not attractive. To gild the lily, I’m serving it with to-be-made-tomorrow vanilla ice cream containing a LOT of bourbon (the excuse being that the booze will keep it from freezing up too hard, uh, right).

        • says

          Ah, I see! I always get anxiety when I’m baking to take things somewhere even though I bake ALL.THE.TIME. It’s funny. You should be fine with the round cake pan, just keep a watchful eye in case baking time should differ. Let me know how it goes! Definitely keep me posted on that vanilla ice cream… if it turns out, I’m going to have to borrow that recipe! Lol! The bourbon component is mighty intriguing! Good luck and enjoy your gathering! :)

          • Lizzie says

            The cake was simply delicious. Forgot to freeze the ice cream maker cylinder, so opted for Dulce de Leche ice cream, softened, that was f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s. A lovely recipe, thank you.

          • says

            That’s awesome, Lizzie! So glad you liked it and that it turned out well for you! We loved it too. The cranberries are just so good. That ice cream… wow! Sounds amazing. Maybe drizzle some bourbon on it anyway? Haha! :)

  4. says

    It may not be the season, but I found rather a lot of cranberries at the back of my freezer as well as a can of pumpkin puree at the back of my larder, so your recipe was ideal for both. This is a very beautiful cake and it taste great too. Thank you for posting it.

    • says

      That’s wonderful! I’m so glad you liked it! I think it’s such a really pretty cake, and I love how it combines those favorite fall flavors. I’m with you – I don’t care if pumpkin is in season, I want it year-round!! So glad you liked the recipe! :)


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