OH, I’ve been working hard to get this one in by Thanksgiving.  I do hope I made it in time for you to get the ingredients (not many!) and change your menu a bit.  (Btw, no mixer involved and this cake keeps nicely overnight.)  Salted nutty candied pecans combined with sour bursts of cranberries, fragrant cinnamon and the autumnal taste of pumpkin, this is scrumptious.  And so pretty.  I finally got it right on my third attempt.  Now it will be easy for you!  The first time I made it, it was delicious – but the topping overwhelmed the cake.  When I inverted the pan, it oozed all over the platter.  I knew something was wrong.  Company was coming so I started to fret especially since I was psyched to share this w/my fruity male friends (in the sense that they like fruit desserts).  I was wondering what I would quickly whip up for them when Sylvie announced that she fixed it.  She simply spooned up the extra the topping surrounding the cake and exclaimed that not only was it all set, but we now had a yummy caramel/cranberry/pecan sauce for ice cream.  I also under baked that cake – but my guests loved it.  Loved it.  Especially Marco and Jason.  Although a success, I fiddled with the topping on my second attempt (sauce was nice but not necessary) and this time it was too sugary.  Today I finally made it correctly — and added a little sea salt to the caramel topping and oh, the day was complete.  It is complete!  I urge you to try this and impress your company.  Enjoy –

If you have a large can of pumpkin puree – save the rest in another container.  I had leftover, so I made pumpkin waffles that I will post asap.

cranberry/pumpkin upside-down cake (slightly adapted from Emily Luchetti’s A Passion for Desserts):

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Maldon salt is so good in this
2 cups cranberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted first
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil (just under 1/4 cup actually)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (use less if not kosher)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Toast pecans as instructed in baking tips.  (I usually toast a lot of nuts at one time – then place them in an airtight container for the next time I need toasted nuts.)

Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment (just on the bottom)

Gently melt the butter then add the brown sugar.  Stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  The butter may ooze out a little, that is OK.  Sprinkle on the sea salt.

Mix together the cranberries and toasted nuts.  Place them evenly on top of the brown sugar/butter mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree and oil.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Gently fold the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.  Then scoop out and place batter on top of the pecans and cranberries.  Carefully spread the batter evenly trying not to mix in the (soon to be) topping.

Place in the oven for 40-45 minutes – or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cake sit on wire rack for 10-12 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges.  Place a large plate or platter on top of the cake.  Invert the cake and plate together and remove the pan (it might be hot!)  Carefully peel off the parchment paper.

Serve warm or at room temperature with some freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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