This Cranberry Pineapple Upside Down Cake is the perfect recipe if you are looking for something special to add to your Thanksgiving dessert spread. The cranberries not only look gorgeous sitting on top of this cake, they add a nice, tart contrast to the sweetness from the brown sugar and pineapples. The cake itself is super buttery and rich, which also helps to balance out the stronger flavor of the cranberries. And, this recipe has lots of brown sugar syrup, which seeps into the cake to keep it nice and moist, even if you are eating it the next day!
Some tips for success: I would really recommend that you not skip lining the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper. It doesn’t take much time at all, and you won’t have to worry that the fruit will stick when you try to turn out the cake. And, getting a nice turnout is kinda the whole idea here! Every single time I tested this recipe with the parchment paper, not one single cranberry stuck to the bottom. If you don’t have parchment paper, I would heavily grease the entire cake pan with lots of butter.
Also, keep watch when you are cooking your sugar syrup, especially after you remove the fruit. I had my heat up a bit too high during one test batch, and the sugar splattered a bit. Just turn the heat down if the mixture is bubbling too hard, and keep stirring!
Finally, if you find arranging the pineapple around the edge of the cake pan a bit too fiddly, don’t even worry about it. Just spoon the pineapple and cranberries down into the pan, it will still look beautiful I promise!Print
What a beautiful dessert to wow at your next Thanksgiving or holiday party! Cranberries add a festive touch to the classic pineapple in this upside down cake. The cake itself is buttery and really moist, thanks to loads of brown sugar syrup.
- 2 ½ c. fresh pineapple chunks (roughly 1 inch size)
- 2 c. fresh cranberries
- 4 tbsp. butter (½ stick)
- 1 c. packed brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 8 tbsp. butter (1 stick), softened
- ¼ c. packed brown sugar
- ½ c. white granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ c. milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 ½ c. flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Line the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan with butter or nonstick spray, set aside.
- To prepare the fruit layer, heat the 1 cup of brown sugar. 4 tbsp. butter and pinch of salt in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted and the sugar has started to dissolve, add in the pineapple and cranberries.
- Stir the mixture frequently until the fruit has released some juice and the cranberries start to pop and cook down slightly, about 5 minutes. To avoid burning the sugar, turn the heat down to medium low if the sugar is bubbling too much.
- While the pan is still on the heat, use a fork or tongs to remove the pineapple chunks from the pan and arrange in a ring around the perimeter of the cake pan. Then use a slotted spoon to remove the cranberries and add them to the center of the cake pan, pressing the cranberries down gently into an even layer. Or, simply use the slotted spoon to remove the cranberries and pineapple from the pan and add to the cake pan without arranging.
- Allow the brown sugar mixture to continue reducing in the pan for another 3-4 minutes, or until syrupy. Stir frequently and watch the pan to avoid burning the sugar, turn the heat down if necessary. Once the syrup has reduced, pour on top of the fruit.
- To make the cake batter, cream together the 8 tbsp. softened butter with the brown and white sugar. Whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl. Whisk into the wet ingredients gradually, do not over mix.
- Pour batter on top of the fruit mixture in the cake pan, spread gently to the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Wait 10 minutes before turning over onto a cake stand or plate.