A flavorful combination of tart cranberries and sweet oranges make this Cranberry Upside-Down cake the perfect ending for a holiday dinner.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Our Cranberry Upside-Down Cake is a seasonally inspired twist on the traditional pineapple version. The cake is moist and buttery, and the ruby-red topping of cranberries and oranges makes it a beautiful addition to a holiday feast.

Ingredients for Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

In addition to pantry staples like white and brown sugar, baking powder, eggs, and butter, you’ll need to have the following ingredients on hand to make this cake:

  • Fresh cranberries: When shopping for cranberries, check the bag over carefully. Avoid packages with soft, mushy berries or a lot of accumulated moisture.
  • Fresh oranges: Choose firm fruits about 3 to 3-1/2-inches in diameter.
  • Cake flour: Using cake flour instead of all-purpose gives the cake its moist, tender texture and fine crumb.
  • Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk (not condensed) adds a subtle caramel-like sweetness to the cake and also enhances the texture.
  • Orange juice: You only need 1/4 cup for this recipe, so you might want to pick up an extra orange for juicing, reserve what you need and enjoy the rest.
Cranberry-Orange Upside Down Cake

Tips for Success

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake is a pretty simple dessert to prepare, particularly if you follow these few helpful tips.

  • Dry your cranberries thoroughly after washing: Spread them out on a kitchen towel, pat them gently and let them sit for a few minutes to air dry.
  • Peeling the oranges: Zest one of the oranges first, then use a sharp paring knife to peel them, making sure to remove all of the bitter white pith below the skin.
  • Cutting the oranges: Once the peel has been removed, use your paring knife to slice and remove the sections in between the tough membranes.
  • Work over a bowl to catch the orange juice: Cutting the orange sections in this manner releases a good deal of juice and if you work over a bowl, they won’t go to waste!

More Fresh Cranberry Recipes:

Cranberry-Orange Upside Down Cake

Cranberry-Orange Upside Down Cake

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A flavorful combination of tart cranberries and sweet oranges make this Cranberry Upside-Down cake the perfect ending for a holiday dinner.


  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups cranberries, washed, dried and cut in half
  • 2 oranges, peeled, segmented and chopped (see notes below)
  • 1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously grease a 9-inch square cake pan and set aside.
  • Add the halved cranberries, chopped oranges (see notes) and brown sugar to a small bowl. Combine well and set aside.
  • Sift the cake flour into a separate mixing bowl and add the baking powder and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, cream together the softened butter, orange zest, and granulated sugar.
  • Add the egg and beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
  • Stir in the evaporated milk and orange juice and beat until well blended.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the melted butter into the prepared baking pan and tilt to distribute evenly. Spread the cranberry-orange mixture in an even layer and flatten lightly with a spatula.
  • Spread the batter evenly over the cranberries, smoothing with a spatula.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn onto a plate. Leave the pan in place on top of the cake for 5 minutes, then remove gently.

Tips for Making This Recipe

How to prepare the oranges for this recipe:

  1. Zest one of the oranges into a small bowl, then trim away 1/2-inch from each end. You want to be able to see the orange flesh.
  2. Using a sharp paring knife, follow the curve of the orange and carefully cut away the remaining peel down to the bright orange flesh.
  3. Trim away any stray bits of the white pith that remain.
  4. Carefully slice along both sides of each white membrane toward the center of the orange to remove the segments one by one.
This is a French method of preparing citrus fruit called supreming. The goal is to segment the fruit with no chewy membrane attached for use in salads, desserts, and dishes like Duck a l’Orange.
Calories: 337kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 39mg, Sodium: 226mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 38g
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