Friday, November 16, 2012

Cranberry Walnut Upside Down Cake

I think this cake is great choice for people who don't like cranberry sauce, but still want cranberries represented in their holiday meal. Personally, I love cranberry sauce, so I won't be making this on Thanksgiving. Besides, by the time I make something pumpkiny, appley and possibly pecany, there just isn't room at the table (or in my stretchiest of waistbands) for anything else.

Makes 8 servings

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (7 oz.—do not thaw if frozen)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (3 oz.), toasted

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2  teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving

1.      Make topping: Melt butter in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderate heat; swirl to coat bottom and side of skillet and stir in brown sugar. Simmer, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes, then sprinkle cranberries and walnuts evenly over butter mixture and remove from heat.
2.      Make cake batter: Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350° F.
3.      Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
4.      Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 6 minutes.
5.      Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
6.      Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternately in batches with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined (do not overmix).
7.      Bake cake: Heat topping in skillet over moderately high heat until it starts to bubble, then gently spoon batter over topping and spread evenly. Quickly transfer to oven; bake until cake is golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
8.      Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around inside edge of pan, then invert a serving plate over pan and invert cake onto plate.
9.      Cool completely on plate on rack, 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature. Serve cake at room temperature with whipped cream.

barely adapted from Gourmet, November 2005
fresh cranberries (still in the bag)
melting the butter & brown sugar
cranberries and walnuts sprinkled on top
butter and sugar
adding egg
adding vanilla extract and lemon zest
adding flour
adding buttermilk
batter mixed
getting bubbly
spreading the batter on top
batter spread; ready to bake
cranberry walnut upside down cake

I think I waited a few minutes too long when I unmolded
my cake (I have a feeling the top should be slightly wetter/drippier
when you remove the cake). So if you're easily distracted like
I am, set your timer.
extreme closeup

This cake is moist and the tart cranberries really
balance out the sweetness so it isn't over the top. The walnuts
add some nice crunch, in addition to the nutty flavor.

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