Festive Cranberry Upside-Down Cake with Walnuts & Red Currant Jelly

Festive Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

With cranberries abundant and at such a great price right now, it’s a shame not to put these beautiful and festive berries to good use.   How can anyone go wrong with an upside down cake topped with fruit and nuts?     This isn’t your traditional fruitcake…this is an upside downer cake!   This recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook, couldn’t be more delicious and appropriate on the table for the following months of entertaining and cranberry season.     The vibrant colors of these seasonal cranberries washed over and glazed with red currant jelly makes this an edible decoration and enticing table centerpiece.

I initially thought to skip the red currant jelly altogether, but so glad I didn’t, because the sweetness offsets the tart cranberries. I’ve doubled the amount of walnuts called for in the recipe, but it can easily be omitted altogether if you have reservation about using nuts.

Festive Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Teenie Notes

  • Increased walnuts to 1/2 cup.
  • Used low-fat vs the original recipe’s whole milk.
  • Don’t skip the red currant jelly. The sweetness from the jelly beautifully offsets the tart cranberries.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

source slightly modified from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Makes 6 to 8 Servings


1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw if frozen)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup low-fat milk

1/3 – 1/2 cup red currant jelly, for glazing cake


Set oven rack to center and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place an 8×2-inch round cake pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Lightly spray sides of the round cake pan with non-stick spray.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Prepare Topping
Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Add the 6 tablespoons of sugar and stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour the butter/sugar mixture evenly over the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Evenly distribute the chopped nuts and top with cranberries. Arrange cranberries so that they are one layer and evenly dispersed around the pan.

Cranberries and Walnuts

Prepare Cake Batter

Beat the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in a stand mixer, fitted with paddle, on medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue beating until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute each and scraping the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Add the milk and then the rest of the dry ingredients until incorporated. Spoon and smooth the batter over the cranberry/walnut topping, using a rubber spatula.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the cake is golden and a knife inserted into center test comes out clean. Remove from oven and run a blunt spatula or knife along the sides of the pan and the cake. Turn cake out on a serving platter. If any berries or nuts stay behind in the pan, gently remove from the pan and place on the cake.

Warm the red currant jelly in the microwave for about 20-25 seconds. Using a pastry or silicon brush, brush the jelly glaze over the warm cake.

Cover leftovers and store at room temperature. Freezing this cake is not advised.

Festive Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Festive Cranberry Upside-Down Cake



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  1. says

    Wow! This cake is GORGEOUS and would be perfect for a xmas dinner at my house this year! I love all the colors you’ve got going in the stunning photographs – the sugary/glaze-y topping is out-of-this-world. ‘m thinking of making this upside down cake for our christmas eve. Thanks for sharing!e

  2. says

    I’d very much prefer this upside down cake over the traditional fruit cake. The intense red from the cranberrries and some from the red current jelly makes the cake very festive, perfect to lighten our holiday mood even further! :D

  3. says

    What a beautiful upside-down cake and so perfect for this time of year. I think this is loads better than a fruitcake, too, although they share the same components. What a way to celebrate cranberry season!

  4. says

    Thank you, my dear, for visiting my blog. I am happy to have found yours! Could this cake be any more gorgeous? Your photographs are incredible but the recipe is lovely. Now I know what to do with all the extra cranberries I still have. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. says

    I agree…gotta use the fresh cranberries while we have them! This is a great idea for something different for the holidays (no more pumpkin…well, maybe)! BTW, you won the Chobani giveaway, so plese email me your address. :)

  6. says

    I have tried red currant jelly only a few times, and I can vouch for how great it is! It really does add such a layer of sweetness! This upside down cake looks beautiful, and I’m sure it tastes amazing. I love all the cranberry recipes floating around right now. Thank you for sharing with me, love!

  7. says

    Great cake Cristina, such a modern twist to the classic upside down cake. I love tart cranberries in desserts with a sweet support. Good move on doubling the nuts. Love the pic of the topping before batter, so pretty.

  8. says

    Your cranberry upside down cake looks so incredibly delicious. That recipe from Dorie’s book was the first one to catch my eye and I have yet to make it. I definitely won’t skip the red currant jelly now and I think I’ll increase the amount of nuts too like you did. I can’t get over how gorgeous your cake is. YUM! :)