Getting a new cookbook is always a special treat for me. Recently, my dearest Nana and her wonderful partner-in-crime, Alan, gifted me with 2 cookbooks that I had been madly coveting: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and Gourmet Today. I'm always grateful for my wonderful family, but surprise acts of kindness like this always put a huge grin on my face. (Thanks again, you two! Love you SO!)
The first thing I chose to make from Dorie's book was her Cranberry Upside-Downer. This was my first upside-down cake, but certainly not my last. I love the concept of buttery, sugary, caramel-y fruit combined with a thin layer of moist cake... what's not to adore? I can already tell this book is going to see a lot of use from me.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups of cranberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup red currant jelly, for glazing the cake
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350F. Put an 8x2-inch round cake pan on a baking sheet (Amy's note: I used a 9x2 inch and reduced the baking time by 5 minutes).
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour the mixture evenly over the bottom of the cake pan, then scatter the nuts over the mixture and top with the cranberries, smoothing the layer and pressing it down with a rubber spatula.
4. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue to beat until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Pour in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Mix in the milk, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter over the cranberries and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes (35-40 for a 9-inch pan), or until the cake is golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and run a blunt knife between the sides of the pan and the cake. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving platter. If any of the berries stick to the pan, just scrape them off and return them to the cake.
6. Warm the jelly in a small saucepan over low heat, or in the microwave. Gently brush the glaze over the hot cake.