This week I’m doing my very first bake along with Liz at Books-n-Cooks. Liz is my sister-in-law and we live too far away from each other to actually bake together, so this is the next best thing! She has been blogging for a few years now, sharing her recipes and reviews of the books she is reading. And, yes, she inspired me to start my own blog.
We have decided to take on the upside-down cake. She baked the Orange Almond Upside-Down Cake from the February/March issue of the Fine Cooking magazine, while I baked a variation of that from the same issue, the Cranberry Streusel Upside-Down Cake.
When I started baking this recipe, I thought it was going to turn out to be a disaster. I was starting to get a really bad cold and my baking skills were definitely impaired by all of the cold medicine I was taking. And, I was a little short on cranberries so it looked like things were going downhill fast.
Well somehow, it turned out delicious and it was big hit when I served it to my family. The tartness from the cranberries paired perfectly with the sweetness of the streusel. I will say, the streusel seemed a little light to me, so next time I make it, I think I will try 1.5x the amounts listed in the below recipe. It didn’t look quite as pretty as the pictures in the magazine (if I had enough cranberries this probably would have helped), but based on what I thought I was going to end up with, I was definitely happy with the final product!
I can’t wait to see how Liz’s Orange Almond version came out.
Adapted from finecooking.com
Makes one 9-inch round cake
For the streusel
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
For the topping
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more for the pan
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 9 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (you can substitute whole milk if you don’t have buttermilk)
Make the streusel
Combine the pecans, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter until well combined.
Make the topping
Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and it turns to a slightly darker caramel color. Be careful not to burn it. Slowly add 3 Tbs. water (be careful, as it will bubble and steam). Cook, stirring, until combined, about 30 seconds.
Immediately pour the caramel into the parchment paper lined cake pan. This is where I made another mistake. The cold medicine made me read “immediately pour the cranberries into the caramel”. You want to let the caramel sit until it is cool enough to touch. It still tasted fine, but the caramel just didn’t set right.
Then, pour the cranberries over the caramel, pressing them tightly together.
Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, mix to combine. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour and the buttermilk or whole milk, beginning and ending with the flour, and beating until just combined after each addition. With a spatula, carefully spread half of the batter over the cranberries. Scatter the streusel over the batter. Dollop the rest of the batter over the streusel, and then carefully spread to cover. The batter is quite thick and difficult to spread so work carefully in order to keep the layers in place. Tap the pan firmly against the counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. You may want to place the cake pan on a cookie sheet in order to catch any overflow and keep your oven clean. Cool on a rack for 35 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!
I used frozen cranberries this time, but I think I will be making this again in the Fall, when I can get some fresh cranberries from the cranberry bog down the street…yes I do live in the country 🙂
Now you should head on over to Books-n-Cooks to check out Liz’s blog and see how the Orange Almond Upside-Down Cake variation came out! I can’t wait to give it a try.
Thanks for baking with me Liz 🙂