This Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake features a moist, spicy, robust gingerbread cake, loaded with brown sugar, molasses, and butter, and smothered with sweet-tart, caramelized cranberries. A delicious mashup of two favorite holiday flavors, this Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake is perfect for brunches or casual holiday parties alike!
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I have a special affinity for upside down cakes. They’re generally really simple and easy to pull together, and they’re elegant and beautiful, I feel!
They don’t perform well on the blog, which perplexes me, but I make them anyway because I just have an affinity for them! I try to strike a balance between creating things that perform well and that people seem to be looking for, and what I happen to like and feel pulled to make.
In the case of upside down cakes, it’s almost always that I just feel in the mood to make one. They go over like a lead balloon on the blog. 🙂
Something I find particularly fun about upside down cakes is that they are naturally inclined to mashups. Inherently, they are great for combining two major flavors or ingredients. The cake is one thing, and the fruit and/or nut topping is another.
Take this here Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake. We combine cranberry + gingerbread, and they both get to be prominent. Neither is really an ancillary flavor. Some previous recipes that exemplify solid mashups too — this Pumpkin Apple Upside Down Cake, this Cranberry Pumpkin Upside Down Cake, and this Pear Gingerbread Upside Down Cake.
Two main holiday flavors pulled together, and both get to shine.
In this Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake, the gingerbread cake is spicy and robust with molasses flavor. It’s also loaded with brown sugar and butter, as most of the best things in life are! It’s moist and soft, and it’s taller than it looks in the picture.
Though the top does kinda pat down because it’s soaked and smothered with a layer of sweet-tart, caramelized cranberries. That top part of the cake is deliciously gooey with butter and brown sugar seeping in-between each crumb.
The contrast of moist, spicy gingerbread, potent with molasses goodness, and bright, tangy, caramelized cranberries is extraordinary.
I love its rustic and unpretentious look, yet it’s still sophisticated and elegant at the same time. Don’t you think? Upside down cakes are generally VERY simple to make too, and this Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake is no exception.
This cake stores well and reheats easily, but upside down cakes are at their best when they’re warm from the oven. It might not be the best dessert for Christmas Day, which is already so hectic. You don’t necessarily want to worry about serving a warm dessert straight from the oven.
My personal suggestion is that it’s a recipe to keep in mind for quieter holiday events where you want something special, but it doesn’t need to be over-the-top. Like maybe the night of tree-decorating. This would be special for that. Or Christmas movie night.
I also consider this to be a great brunch recipe! You can totally pass this Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake off as coffee cake! I think this is an amazing brunch idea.
I listed a few other seasonal upside down cakes above, but for non-holiday upside down cakes, check out this Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Upside Down Cake, this Coconut Rum Banana Upside Down French Toast Casserole, and this Pineapple Upside Down Coffee Cake.
Cranberry Gingerbread Upside Down Cake
- 4 tbsp. butter melted
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- whipped cream optional garnish
- Lightly grease the sides of a 9-inch round cake pan.
- In a small bowl, stir together the first three ingredients -- melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Spread evenly into the bottom of the prepared cake pan.
- Sprinkle evenly with fresh cranberries, ensuring the brown sugar mixture is covered.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, and butter, beating until blended.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, and cloves.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, beating until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Spoon the batter carefully over the cranberries, trying not to dislodge or move them too much.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until edges are set and golden, and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool for 15-20 minutes (no longer or cake will want to stick to pan), run a knife around the edges to loosen, and then invert onto a serving plate.
- Cut and serve warm. Top with whipped cream, if desired.