Cranberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

Holiday baking has officially commenced folks! I needed a short break after my Thanksgiving Pie-making bonanza to just breathe and reboot, but here I am with lots of ideas and excitement for December! I am starting the month out with super festive and delicious cake that would be a sure showstopper for any holiday spread. It’s also actually quite easy to throw together which makes it even more wonderful. 

Cranberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

Fresh cranberries are tossed with melted butter, cinnamon and sugar and then placed into the bottom of your cake pan. (I used a ring pan for this but I think a regular cake pan or bundt would work too, more notes on that in the recipe.) Then a simple buttermilk cake batter is poured on top and the whole thing bakes up beautifully. I decided to get fancy and make some sugared cranberries to go on top, (I followed Annie’s recipe to a T,) but they are totally optional.

The cake is so incredibly good, with a bit of tang from the berries and a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I served this to some mom friends with an afternoon cup of tea, but I think it would be a special dessert for just about any festive, wintery gathering.

Cranberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Buttermilk Upside Down Cake

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, separated
  • 3/4 cup plus 1/2 cup white sugar, separated
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste, separated
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Thoroughly pray or grease a 10-inch ring pan, 9-inch cake pan or bundt pan*. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan, combine the stick of butter, 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of water, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir until the butter has melted and then add the cranberries, tossing until they are coating in the butter mixture. Pour into the bottom of the cake pan, set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the 6 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 1/2 cup of white sugar and the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, vanilla, and buttermilk.
  4. Whisk the dry ingredients together and slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing on low speed until well combined.
  5. Pour/scoop the batter over the cranberry mixture and use the back of a spoon to smooth if needed.
  6. Bake for 35-50 minutes, depending on your pan, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


*This amount of batter was perfect for the 10 inch ring pan I used, but I think if I made this as a bundt cake I would keep the amount of berries the same but increase the amount of batter just to fill the pan a bit more.

Recipe adapted fromAll Recipes

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Beautiful and festive! I have it in the oven right now and my kids are making up excuses not to go to sleep so they can taste it when it comes out of the oven :) Just one thing– the ingredient list calls for 2 T of water, but it’s not mentioned when to add it in the directions. I assume it’s with the sugar and cranberries? I’m hoping it doesn’t make much of a difference because I left it out! Many thanks, and happy holidays!

  2. I made this for Christmas and it was a hit! I had no idea how much I liked cranberries! The only thing that I would’ve done differently is that I had frozen my cranberries, so I actually added them to the butter mix frozen. It made it pretty hard to spread in the pan bc it was like a giant butter sugar cranberry popsicle– so if someone out there is using frozen cranberries too– take the time to defrost them for an easier time. It didn’t affect the final result though. Super moist and a perfect sweet and sour balance. Great recipe Audra!

  3. Did anyone make this in 2 loaf pans? Thinkingbof trying that, but she says increase the batter if not using an angel food cake pan. Any recommendations on by how much to increase? Thanks for your help!

  4. I have made this several times. I make in a bunt pan and I one and a half the cake part of recipe. Perfect!!! Love it!

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