Cranberry Upside Down Cake is finished with a tart jelly melted over the cranberries. Finish with a nice ricotta cream with cinnamon and citrus zest.
Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Ricotta Cream is a variation on a Cranberry Cake I posted a few years ago. We love this cake and recently I tweeked it a little to add more intense flavor to the cranberries with a red currant jelly glaze as well as a nice topping that’s a bit more unique than whipping cream or ice cream.
Adding the jelly glaze and ricotta cream are inspired by a recipe from baking savant, Maida Heater. Let’s talk about adding your jelly glaze first. Crosse & Blackwell Red Currant Jelly is excellent, but you could use any fruit jelly or jam, really, like raspberry or even strawberry for a sweeter glaze. Try orange marmalade for the classic orange and cranberry combination.
Also mentioned in Maida’s recipe is the option to add Ricotta Cream as a “bland” pairing to the cranberries. I’ve wondered about the ricotta option for quite sometime now but thought I’d try and step it up a bit from bland to something that is unique and complimentary. So, this year I experimented and came up with this version that’s not too sweet but adds something very different from the norm. The combination of maple syrup, cinnamon, and citrus zest give just enough of a wake up flavor to the creamy ricotta. I recommend making it the day before serving, because the flavors meld together and increase over time.
Serve the cream on top of the cake or off to the side for guests who like their dessert tart, because the ricotta cream is fabulous on its own. Try the ricotta cream served with graham crackers or cookies for a festive dip. Add a dollop to your favorite homemade or well-bought granola.
The cranberries topped with jelly is a fabulous finish, but let’s not forget about the cake itself. This upscale yellow cake contains the perfect combination of texture and moist flavor. Yogurt or sour cream adds tangy moistness and a mixture of spices- ginger, cinnamon and cloves- are just right with the tart cranberries. This cake is delicious served right out of the oven but if you can make it the day before serving, you’ll love it even more. The cranberries soften overnight and the spices in the cake are more intense, the cake even more moist!
My family loves cranberries so much that I buy a lot, I mean A LOT, of cranberries toward the end of December and freeze them so we can make anything “cranberry” all year long. Psst, cranberries are also incredibly good for you (antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber) and contain the lowest fructose of almost any fruit so add a few to your morning smoothie, too.
Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Ricotta Cream
- ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, ¼ cup or ½ a stick
- 12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ground cloves, scant pinch
- ½ cup 1 stick butter, softened plus more for buttering the pan
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon orange juice, from fresh oranges
- ½ cup Greek yogurt, or sour cream
- ¼ cup of milk
Make the Ricotta Cream:
- 1- 8 oz. ricotta cheese full-fat or part-skim
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Zest from one lemon or orange, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- Preheat oven to 350F.*
- Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9" x 3" round cake pan.
- In a small saucepan, place ¼ cup butter and ¾ cups packed brown sugar. On medium high heat, stir the sugar as the butter melts. Once the butter is melted and mixed in well with the sugar, stop stirring and let the mixture simmer for 15 seconds or so.
- Pour the brown sugar butter mixture into the prepared cake pan. Spread the cranberries on top of the sugar-butter mixture.
- In a medium bowl vigorously whisk together 1 ¾ cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, and scant pinch of cloves.
- In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat ½ cup softened butter until light. Add 1 ½ cups sugar and beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add 3 eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in 1 Tablespoon orange zest and 1 teaspoon orange juice.
- Mix a third of the dry ingredients into the mixture. Beat in half of the sour cream. Mix in another third of the dry ingredients. Mix in the remaining sour cream. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients and then the milk.
- Pour batter over the cranberries in the cake pan, and smooth the surface. Place in the preheated oven and lower the heat from 350°F to 325°F. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 55 minutes to an hour. Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the inside rim of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then turn the cake out onto a platter.
- Preheating and baking temperatures for this recipe are for a light colored (regular silver) pan. If you are using a dark colored non-stick pan, decrease temperature by 25 degrees, and check cake after baking for approximately 45 minutes.
- Make the Ricotta Cream:
- Place all ingredients in a blender or the bowl of a food processor.
- Blend until as smooth as you can get it.
- Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving. The ricotta cream keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Recipe adapted from Maida Heatter’s Cakes.
nick cooper says
made no changes. This cake was excellent. I especially like the tangy taste of the berries against the sweetness.
jill boone says
I have some very picky dessert eaters in my family and they loved this cake so much that I’ve already been asked to make it again. It was a good balance of sweet and sour and was perfectly moist. Thanks so much for the recipe! I think I have a new fall staple at our house!
sierra helms says
This is BEAUTIFUL! Planning on bringing this to our next ward activity. Cant wait to show it off 🙂
laura h says
Great recipe! My first time making an upside down cake and it came out perfectly!
My husband requested a pineapple upside down cake for his birthday and I was so glad I picked this instead! He told me that it was the best cake he has ever had and to stop making the original upside down cake version lol. He loved, and raved about how good the cream was. Thank you for sharing Sally!
I just made this this to bring with me to a picnic after an exercise class. (Yes, I know, not the healthiest choice for a dessert!) Each of the ladies took a second helping and asked me for the recipe! This was wonderful Sally, and I will definitely make this many, many more times.