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Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

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Fresh juicy cranberries, sweet dried apricots, plump golden raisins, and pecans in a rich homemade caramel glaze, grace the top of this tender cinnamon spice coffee cake like delicious holiday candies beckoning to be devoured!

Cranberry Upside Down Coffee Cake upclose.

I realize it has been a hot minute since I’ve posted a new recipe! There’s a really good reason for that…I was in a car accident back in July and sustained a bad concussion. It left me struggling to remember words, blacking out, and from time to time inserting the wrong letter for the beginning of a word. (Makes being a writer a lot more complicated!)

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Per my doctors orders, I had to take a month off to give me ol’ brain a chance to heal! It’s still a work in progress (my husband would say about 59 years! lol) …but I’m slowly getting better, and I’m SO excited to be back at the computer sharing delicious recipes with all of you!

If you know me, you know I L.O.V.E. Fall baking and cooking! The smell of warm rich spices in cakes, cookies, and breads speaks to my soul. Cooking, baking, and feeding others truly is my “love language”!

If I had to pick only one recipe to post for Fall 2021, and thankfully I don’t, it would be this amazingly beautiful, and delicious, Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake! I love a good Coffee Cake Recipe!

This simple spice cake looks complicated…but it’s not. It comes together quickly once you have your prep work done, and believe it or not, the cake flawlessly flips out of the springform pan displaying a spectacular show-stopping fruit-filled top!

The coffee cake is moist, tender, and with just the perfect amount of crumb. The hints of cinnamon laced throughout the cake blend perfectly with its jeweled topping. Served warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg…you have the ultimate Fall/Holiday dessert!

So…let’s get baking!

How To Easily Make Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

Preheat your oven to 350° or 175 degrees C.

You will need a 9 inch springform pan for this cake. I recommend not attempting to make this in a standard 9 inch cake pan, unless you love frustration and want to embrace it while trying to beat this cake from said pan! (Go with the Springform pan and save those who live with you from watching you have a nervous breakdown!)

Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent leaking! Place the prepared springform pan on a large baking sheet to give your oven more protection and your cake a even baking surface. It also makes removing the cake from the oven a breeze!

TIP: I tear off two sheets and fold them together in the center to create a nice wide piece of foil and then place my springform pan in the center and wrap the excess over the sides of the pan.

Springform pan wrapped in aluminum foil for baking.

How To Make The Warm Caramel Glaze

In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine 2/3 cup packed brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter.

Butter and Brown Sugar in sauce pan coming to a boil.

Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil, stirring constantly so that the mixture does not burn to the bottom of the pan. Once mixture is boiling, turn the heat off.

Pour caramel sauce into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Gently move the pan back and forth to coat the bottom of the pan.

Brown sugar and butter boiling in a pan.

Cranberry Apricot Topping for Cake

This is where “Prep” work comes in handy! Yes it means more dishes…but it also eliminates a lot of measuring mistakes and allows everything to flow easily.

The ease of making this cake is ALL about the prep work. Have all your toppings chopped and ready to go.

All the cake ingredients prepped for baking on a cutting board.

On the bottom of the springform pan, on top of the caramel glaze, sprinkle 1 and 1/2 cups fresh, or thawed, whole cranberries.

Whole cranberries sprinkled in bottom of springform pan with caramel glaze.

Add 1/2 cup diced dried apricots and 1/4 cup golden raisins!

Now listen…I know how some of you feel about raisins in your baked goods. I’m right there with you! However, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this…golden raisins are a whole other story! They are nothing like those little rabbit pellet raisins some bakers insist in using to destroy a perfectly good cinnamon roll.

Golden raisins are delicious! You’re just gonna have to trust me!

Most Cranberry Upside down cakes call for just cranberries and chopped nuts. Not my recipe. My recipe brings all the beautiful colors and flavors of Fall into to play! It’s outstanding. I love the red, yellow, and orange on this cake!

Apricots and Golden Raisins added to cranberry topping in springform pan.

Add 1- 2 Tablespoons of freshly grated orange zest! We are not messing around with flavor my friends. I went all out on this one!

Orange Zest on Fruit Topping

It’s time to get crazy! Go a little “nutty”! Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans! I like to go pretty fine on my chopped baking nuts.

TIP: Chop bulk nuts from Costco all at once and place in freezer bags. That way when you need chopped nuts…they’re always ready to go!

Adding chopped nuts to cake top with cranberries.

How To Prepare The Coffee Cake Batter

In a large bowl, sift together 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, or in a large mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup softened butter and 3/4 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

Butter and sugar in mixing bowl.

Beat in 2 eggs one at a time, on low, then add in vanilla.

TIP: Always crack eggs into a separate bowl to prevent any egg shell from getting into your cake batter, or any fresh eggs that may have blood spots. Trust me on this. I’ve ruined an entire cheesecake because I rushed to crack the eggs directly into the bowl. Even store bought eggs can have the occasional blood spot.

Adding eggs one at a time to butter and sugar mixture for cake.

Beat in the flour mixture, alternating with 1 cup sour cream. Mix until combined.

Alternating dry ingredients with sour cream for cake batter in mixing bowl.

TIP: ALWAYS scrape down the sides and bottom of your mixing bowl when making a cake in your mixer. The butter and sugar mixture tends to stick to the sides and bottom, and your cake batter will not turn out correctly if you skip this step. Once the sides and bottom have been scraped down, mix one more time to incorporate all the ingredients.

Cake batter in mixing bowl

Pour batter into the prepared springform pan, right over the top of that beautiful fruit topping. See that baking sheet underneath my pan! Works like a charm every time!

Cake batter over the top of the cranberry topping.

Baking Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

If you’re daring like me, you can always gently touch the center of the cake, being careful not to burn yourself, if the cake springs back its ready! (I like to live on the edge so I go for the spring back method! Also…that’s as far to the edge as I get! In case you were wondering! I won’t be skydiving any time soon…as in NEVER!)

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert (turn over) onto serving platter and carefully unlatch the springform pan to remove the cake ring. Next, carefully, lift off the top.

*Please note…only cool the cake for 10 minutes! Any longer and the cake may not come out of the pan. As the caramel cools it becomes more sticky and will prevent the delicious caramel topping from releasing from the pan!

Cake cooling on the cooling rack for 10 minutes.

Serving Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

This cake is meant to be served warm! It’s absolutely heavenly warm with a little dollop of whipped cream on top! I love whipping up fresh whipped cream and sprinkling it with a little dusting of nutmeg or cinnamon.

This Coffee cake melts in your mouth. It’s tender, and buttery, with hints of warm tart cranberries and sweet apricots in a succulent rich caramel glaze! This is a “double dog dare ya to eat just one slice” type of cake!

Cake with dollop of whipped cream on  a stack of plates.

Look at this cake! It’s the perfect sponge cake…to quote my English ancestors! It really is a beautiful blend of sponge and coffee cake! Honestly look at those beautiful Fall colors! Let’s not forget about the crunchy delicious chopped pecans nestled in amongst that glorious fruit!

If you’re not a huge frosting fan…this cake was made with you in mind!

Up close photo of inside of cranberry cake.

I honestly think this may be my favorite Fall cake of all time! I want to serve this with big heaping cups of warm spiced caramel apple cider in front of a big fire on a cold Autumn day! Doesn’t that sound wonderful!

Cranberry Upside Down Coffe Cake slice on a white plate with the entire cake in the background.

Other Favorite Fall Dessert Recipes

Happy Nesting!

Photo of Norine and her signature.
Yield: 12

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

Overhead photo of Cranberry Upside down cake on a crystal cake plate on a white counter top.

Fresh juicy cranberries, sweet dried apricots, plump golden raisins, and pecans in a rich homemade caramel glaze, grace the top of this tender cinnamon spice coffee cake like delicious holiday candies beckoning to be devoured!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh Whipped cream (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° (175 C). Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent leaking. Place pan on a baking sheet for additional protection and even baking.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium to large saucepan over medium heat, combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour mixture into the bottom of springform pan. Sprinkle with whole cranberries, chopped apricots, golden raisins, orange zest,and chopped pecans.
  4. In the bowl of mixer, with paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, cream together 1/2 cup softened butter and 3/4 cup white sugar. Mix until light and fluffy, scrapping bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs one at a time, then mix in vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl for even mixing. Pour batter into prepared pan directly over the fruit.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan, on wire baking rack, for 10 minutes. ONLY COOL TEN MINUTES! Invert onto serving platter and carefully release and remove springform pan. Serve warm, garnished with fresh whipped cream and a dusting of nutmeg if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12 servings

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 333mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g

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