A slice of cranberry upside down cake on the cake server

This post is sponsored by McCormick® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

This Cranberry Upside Down Cake is a tender vanilla cake recipe with a sweet and tart caramelized cranberry topping that has a hint of McCormick® Cinnamon. It is delicious served warm from the oven with a vanilla-flavored whipped cream topping.

This easy cake recipe is perfect for the holidays. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, this Cranberry Upside Down Cake is the perfect dessert to make for your family and friends. It is a festive color with a gorgeous presentation. Set it out warm from the oven with a side of whipped cream and let your guests dig in.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake Slice on a black plate

An upside-down cake for all seasons!

My Dad is a huge fan of upside-down cakes. He always requests a Pineapple Upside Down Cake on his birthday. And, when blackberry season is around, he always wants a Blackberry Upside Down Cake. In the fall, we enjoy an Apple Upside Down Cake and over the holidays, it is always this Cranberry Upside Down Cake!

What I love about an upside-down cake is the beauty you uncover when you invert the cake onto the serving plate. The gorgeous colors and caramelized fruit that has been baked to perfection underneath the vanilla cake batter inspire a festive feeling.

A slice of cranberry upside down cake on the cake server

Making the best tasting Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Whenever you are making any type of cake recipe, you want to be sure that you are using ingredients that will give it the best flavor overall. My go-to brand for any type of herbs and spices, extracts, and gravy mixes are McCormick®.

cranberry topping ingredients

Flavoring: For this Cranberry Upside Down Cake, the cake itself is flavored with McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract. The aroma and flavor can’t be beaten.

Holiday Spice: To offer up a bit of holiday flavor in this cake, I gave the cranberry topping on this upside-down cake a sprinkling of McCormick® Ground Cinnamon. This warm and sweet spice elicits a comfort food feeling whenever I use it and it’s my favorite holiday spice to use.

Fresh Fruit: Certain fruits can be frozen for an upside-down cake. But, in this instance, you really want to use fresh. The fresh cranberries give it a burst of color and tang that compliments the sweetness of the Cranberry Upside Down Cake.

a hand shaking cinnamon over the brown sugar in the cake pan

Make finding the right ingredients a great shopping experience

When the holiday baking season comes around, I love to stock up my kitchen pantry with the ingredients I need to make the season jolly and tasty. My passion for baking goes into full gear as soon as we get our feet in the door of the holiday season. And, I can’t wait to get my feet out the door to the store.

I like being able to find everything I need in one spot. Finding what I need is as easy as making a trip to the local Stop & Shop. Where I can find a wide variety of McCormick® herbs and spices for all of my holiday recipes.

Tips for making the best Cranberry Upside Down Cake recipe

  • Use fresh cranberries. They are in season once November comes around and are plentiful in the stores throughout the holidays.
  • Lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup and don’t pack it in by tapping. Sift the dry ingredients together with the flour to ensure it is thoroughly combined and there are no flour or baking powder lumps.
  • The correct sized cake pan is necessary. A 9-inch round cake pan works perfectly. Some like to use a springform pan. Personally, I do not recommend it for an upside-down cake.
  • Don’t let the cake cool longer than 5 minutes. Run a knife around the side of the pan before inverting to prevent the cake portion from sticking to the sides.
  • Serve this cake warm if at all possible, no need to cool completely.

Variations to this recipe

There are a few things you could do differently to change the flavor profile of this cake. Below are some ideas you may want to consider.

Chocolate Cake: Chocolate and cranberry are a tasty combination. Swap out 1/3 cup of flour for 1/3 cup of cocoa powder to make this a Chocolate Cranberry Upside Down Cake.

Add Walnuts: Cranberry and walnuts are a natural combination. Get nutty with your cake and sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts over top of the cranberries before adding the cake layer.

Add Chocolate Chips: What is tastier than adding some chocolate chips to a cake? I like to sprinkle them on top of the cranberries, but you could also stir some into the cake batter if desired.

Serve with Whipped Cream: Whip up 1/2 cup of heavy cream with 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.

Add Nutmeg: Give this Cranberry Upside Down Cake another boost of warm holiday spices by sprinkling a little bit of McCormick® Nutmeg with the McCormick® Ground Cinnamon on the cranberry layer.

Overhead view of whole cake on green serving platter

Other Cake Recipes you may want to try

The holiday season is a fun time to serve up cakes! All of the cakes listed below would make a great addition to any holiday table spread.

Amaretto Cranberry Swirled Cheesecake is another cranberry recipe we enjoy but in cheesecake form. It is so pretty and tasty, cheesecake lovers will be happy to see this on the buffet.

Don’t forget the keto people in your life over the holidays. They love to eat dessert too! This Chocolate Pudding Cake will have them ooing and ahing in appreciation of your thoughtfulness.

This Poke Cake recipe starts with a white cake recipe that becomes a canvas for colorful lines of jello throughout the cake. This layer cake is one of Grumpy’s favorite recipes.

My family loves banana cake and this Banana Cake with Browned Butter Maple Frosting is no exception. This is my youngest son’s favorite cake. Sometimes I will swap out a fluffy chocolate frosting for the maple one and decorate it with holiday-colored jimmies!

Cherry Poundcake with Lime Glaze is another festive cake recipe I love to make. The cherries and lime are a great compliment to each other. And, the red cherry and green lime are a perfect match for holiday coloring.

A slice of cranberry upside down cake on a black plate with whipped cream on top

*If you made this Cranberry Upside Down Cake, please give it a star rating*

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry upside down cake
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 399kcal


  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Cinnamon
  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs yolks and egg whites separated
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the 2 tablespoons of butter in the cake pan and place in the oven while it is preheating.
  • Remove the cake pan with the melted butter from the oven. Sprinkle the butter evenly with the brown sugar. Then, sprinkle with the ground cinnamon.
  • Place the cranberries on top of the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.
  • Place the 3 tablespoons of butter with the sugar In a large mixing bowl and mix until combined.
  • Add the egg yolks to the sugar mixture and mix until well combined and creamy.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternately with the milk and vanilla, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  • In a clean bowl, using a hand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into the cake batter the transfer to the cake pan.
  • Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes. Slide a knife around the cake pan to loosen the cake from around the edges.
  • Place a serving plate on top of the cake pan and invert the cake. Remove the pan from the cake. Serve warm.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 399kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 350mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 30g

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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