Search Results

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Cran-Raspberry Upside Down Cake

The easiest recipe so far from The Baking Bible. This cake took me less than 2 hours to make (1 hour 55 minutes to be exact). And that includes baking time.

This cake brings me back to Rose's Heavenly Cake days. It is a typical Rose's white butter cake with sour cream. It is also my favorite type of white butter cake because of the addition of sour cream. The sour cream makes the cake more moist. One of the issue I found with baking butter cakes here in Mile High city is it tends to make the cake drier and dry out faster. Since I like to keep any baked goods over several days and eat them a bit at a time, dry cakes = unhappy me.

There is not much to report about this cake. It came together very quickly and easily. I was a bit shocked to see the amount of sugar in the recipe - the sugar for the batter is the same weight as the flour. I was half expected to have a sweet cake that might be too sweet for my taste. However, this cake came out only slightly sweet and the tartness of the cranberries and the lemon juice in the caramel is what I taste. I almost want to say that it needs a bit more sugar but it was quite nice to have a slice of this yesterday with my ice tea.

I didn't adjust baking soda or baking powder since the recipe used so little of it already. A bit challenging to reduce 20% of 1/8 teaspoon :). I added 1 teaspoon of egg whites for liquid adjustment. I used a baking stone and pre heated the oven as instruction. The cake baked for 30 minutes and the cake tester came out clean but the batter hasn't browned at all. So I put it back into the oven for another 5 minutes, which turned out to be a mistake as the sides pulled away from the pan already - and still not brown. It is tasty though and pretty looking with all the cranberries.

Step by step photos:

Took out frozen cranberries and weigh for 1/2 recipe.

I find this interesting. 2 different brands of butter. Same ingredient and fat content. Different price. The organic brand is $2 more expensive. Look at how different the butter color is. The 365 brand of Whole Foods is paler and Horizon's Organic is a lot more yellow. The 365 brand also softens a lot faster at room temperature than the Horion Organic brand. Must be the different cow and their diet or pasture?

Melt the butter. I use a bit from each brand.

Used some of the melted butter to grease the pan, then add lemon juice (I used my previously frozen cubes), lemon zest (I have meyer lemon zest!), and sugar.

Boiling butter mixture.


Pour caramel into the prepared pan.

Strew the cranberries on top. I should have used a 6 inch pan, was not happy there are too many gaps between the cranberries.

Mise-en-place. Butter and sour cream on the left. Egg, a tablespoon of sour cream, and vanilla on the right.

Dry ingredients.

Add the butter and sour cream.

Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened.

Increase speed to medium.

Scrape the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg mixture in 2 additions. Mixer in action.

Completed batter.

Filling the pan. I love the color contrast of the red cranberries, white batter, and the black background.

Filled. I didn't forget my baking strip this time.

After baking.

Upside down!

Alpha Bakers is a group of bakers who are baking through The Baking Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum's latest cookbook. Come check out the rest of the group at Rose's Alpha Bakers.

Click here for a full listing of all the recipes we are baking.


  1. I made this cake a while ago, Jenn, and loved it. It was simple to make and versatile, to use as a cake or as a dessert. Someone else on Rose's forum made it with rhubarb and it looked beautiful, I thought mine looked a bit rough in comparison but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the saying goes! I would make this again as it was so good, in my opinion. Jeannette

    1. Hi Jeanette! I remember your cake in the forum and the rhubarb version that someone else made. I think this is an easily adaptable cake to use any fruits. Rose has Apple Upside Down Cake in Rose's Heavenly Cakes that is very similar to this, with caramel. I have made that one several times. It was very good also.

    2. I think it's difficult to achieve aesthetic perfection on upside down cakes. It's not like a cake that's covered in ganache or buttercream and you can patch your mistakes. There is no telling how the fruits going to cook or the caramel going to melt. One time I made the apple upside down cake at a friend's house with no baking stone, the caramel didn't melt all the way through. That was a bit sad because it affects the taste of the cake.

  2. I took a pass this week, could not find the cranberries and I looked all over the place - so I took a weekend off on the baking :). However, yours looks beautiful.

    1. Maybe later this year when you're able to find them, you'll catch up with this cake. I know Tom would love it! :))))

  3. I forgot to mention it on the post. I bought a bag of fresh cranberries last Dec when they were in season and on sale and stash them in the freezer, knowing there are recipes with cranberries in the book. I still have 1/2 of the bag :).

  4. Your cranberries look so red and plum! Mine looked very tiny and most are dark red. I like your mini cake! I think I'm going to make small cake for the polish princess...

  5. I'm so jealous! Your cake looks absolutely perfect. Love your first photo too!

  6. Beautiful photographs! Stunning cake! Have you tried Hanna's trick of adding oil to butter cakes?

    1. Thanks Vicki! I haven't tried it but only because all the butter cakes I've made are for Rose's baking club. I don't really want to add new ingredients that's not in the recipe. If I bake a cake outside of baking club, I always choose one of her chocolate genoise since that's my favorite!

    2. I should say "I try not to add new ingredients not in recipe" - I know sometimes I add a bit of something but usually it's like using golden raisins vs. regular raisins type thing :).


Thank you so much for leaving comments.