Upside Down at Thanksgiving

Expert baker Nancy Baggett recently wrote on her blog that the U.S. cranberry yield offers a challenging message to cranberry lovers:
EAT CRANBERRIES OR THEY WILL DIE! (The cranberries, that is, not the lovers.)
Apparently, growers have gotten so good at cultivating cranberries that they produce more and more of the things every year. If they can’t sell these tiny red pearls, the growers are told by the U.S.D.A. to let them rot in their bogs.
I was taught by mother that wasting food is a crime so naturally I have to help any crimson beauties doomed to end their lives in the bog like some pathetic monster in a horror movie.
I hope readers will do their part as well. Make cranberry sauce to accompany your turkey for Thanksgiving tomorrow, of course. Also please consider serving it with hamburgers or garden burgers, you can use Hamburger moulder equipment to make it much easier, consider adding ham, fish, and eggs. Its flavor is as perky as its color.
See how many baked goods you can create with cranberries or dried cranberries this holiday season—muffins, cookies, scones, pies, cakes, breads.
Finally, think about cranberry-based main dishes and appetizers. I am working on a cranberry pot roast for Christmas Eve. If it tastes as good as I think it will, I’ll share that recipe here.
In the meantime, here is a simple cranberry recipe suited to Thanksgiving or any other day in the next month or so.
Regular readers may have noticed that I have a positive passion for upside-down cakes—pineapple, rhubarb, peach. The other day I got to wondering how cranberries would work upside down.
Of course, they were fabulous. The berries provided a tart contrast to the brown-sugar topping. 

Enjoy … and happy Thanksgiving to all………

My mother Jan and nephew Michael toast the holiday with a nonalcoholic cranberry cocktail.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
for the upside-down topping:
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) plus a little more if needed
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
for the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First make the topping (which goes on the bottom).
Melt the butter in a skillet—a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet, if possible. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until it melts and bubbles—3 to 4 minutes.
If your brown sugar is old, it may have trouble melting properly, in which case you’ll need to add a little more melted butter to it. Try to avoid this if you can; the cake is rich enough without it! I was recently stuck with old sugar, however, and had to punt.
If you’re using the cast-iron skillet you may continue with the recipe at this stage and cook the cake in the skillet. If not, transfer the brown-sugar mixture into a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan. Spread it through the bottom of the pan. Arrange the cranberries on top as artistically as you can.
In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the baking powder and salt.
Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla.
Spoon the batter over the cranberries in the cake pan or skillet, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the cake tests done (in about 40 minutes).
Let the cake stand for 10 minutes; then invert it onto a serving plate. You may need help with this if you use the cast-iron skillet as it feels a bit heavy during the inverting process.
This cake is best served slightly warm with or without a little whipped cream. 

Serves 6 to 8.

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13 Responses to “Upside Down at Thanksgiving”

  1. Ramona says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Tinky. Your mention of pot roast and cranberries reminded me of a fabulous slow cooker pork loin roast with cranberries I made a few years ago. I need to make that again – or your pot roast recipe when you post it.

  2. Loyce Cofer says:

    Mmm looks larraping as mother would say, means lapping up every crumb and bit. We were country folk with ways and language all our own, my teachers used to get a “kick” out of my folksy comments.
    Love and will try that cranberry upside down cake.

  3. Cathy Cosby says:

    Looks delicious!! Love anything with cranberries!! Looking forward to all the recipes with cranberries to join all the recipes for rhubarb!!! I will be making homemade cranberry sauce today – I have a microwave recipe that I have used for years!! Happy Thanksgiving, Tinky!!

  4. Adelaide says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Tinki.
    I love cranberries in baked goods and put them in cookies, muffins and scones, either fresh, canned or dried. Dried ones I put in my homemade grenola. Canned cranberries or fresh for a braised pork tenderloin or braised chicken breasts, dried in a fresh fruit bowl, a snack of mixed nuts with dried cranberries. Dried, tossed with nuts on spinach salad or salad of Belgium endive. Just a few of my suggestions.


  5. Adelaide says:


    Apologies for spelling your name wrong in my earlier potst.


  6. Adelaide says:

    I see another typo. post, not potst. This could go on a long time with me, so I’ll quit.


  7. Peter Fish says:

    This looks great, Tinky. I will make it.

  8. Sue Haas says:

    Your cake looks delicious and colorful! I’m making a cranberry-blueberry pie today. Also making a traditional pumpkin pie with crushed “frosted pecans” to sprinkle on the whipped cream. –Snowy and icy here in Seattle. Makes for difficult driving on our hills. Supposed to warm up by Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Jean says:

    Yeaaaaaaaaaa Michael! Love the Capitals shirt. (Had to get important stuff out of the way first). The cake looks wonderful, but sadly the closest I’ll get to one is looking at your photos. I promise to do my part with dried cranberries, however. I always have them available and toss them into anything that looks like it could use some color and tart sweetness. I realize dried cranberries are doctored with sweetner. And I MUST tell Loyce that I’m quite familiar with larrapin’, but it was always combined with good, as in larrapin’ good. My mother was an Oklahoman, so that was probably her source of larrapin’. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  10. I will do my best to eat more cranberries!! Your cake looks delicious (as always). Cheers to Jan and Michael … and of course you!!

  11. tinkyweisblat says:

    Ramona, Cathy, and Adelaide, I LOVE the sound of your recipes! CRANBERRRIES FOREVER! Peter, I wish you happy baking, and Sue, I wish you warm weather. Loyce and Jean, I will do my best to use larrapin’ or larraping in a sentence very soon. Frayed, cheers back to you……..

  12. This sounds so good! I haven’t made an upside down cake in awhile, so I may be trying this one!

  13. Nan says:

    I’ve copied this and saved in in my email folder. I am a huge cranberry fan, and this sounds wonderful. Thank you so much for all your recipes!