Thanksgiving Brunch and the Upside Down Cranberry Cake

We are celebrating our Thanksgiving the typical desi way ..yes, you guessed it right ..we are having a potluck party . Before you dismiss it as another boring affair , let me point out that we are doing something "different".. we are having a Thanksgiving brunch instead of the traditional dinner. While you may feel the need to compliment us for doing something "hatke" let me assure that it was more out of necessity. Black Friday sales have now formally invaded Thursday Thanksgiving dinner ..the lure of the all deals was just too hard to moved the potluck  early  from dinner to brunch.

Cranberries are a staple of any Thanksgiving feast and I for one wasn't making an exception ? Have to admit that I was getting kinda bored with eating this antioxidant rich food as sauce only ...that too store bought are just nothing more than sugar jellies. Google came to my rescue and the possibility of baking  a  cranberry upside down cake got embedded in my brain. My inspiration came from here though as usual , I made a few variations ... more out of necessity , I should admit.

For the topping ,  simply caramelized the sugar with butter and poured it in a greased pan (well greased one actually as we don't want the cranberries sticking to the pan). Next, covered  it up with cranberries ...the recipes calls for 8 oz but I just sprinkled handfuls on  the poured sugar and butter layer..see the pic below.

A word of caution for the cake batter. The recipe calls for separating the eggs . Once the yolks have been incorporated and the flour added, the egg whites are folded in the end.  The whites have be to beaten till they form stiff peaks before they are folded.. That means, your blades should be clean while handling the whites. If you have an extra set of blades , now is the time for them to come in handy . You could do what I did, used a hand whisk but you are going to need a lot of muscle power.
Here is a pic of the cake batter before adding the whites.

After folding in the whites, kept it in the oven and it was ready in 35 minutes. Was very nervous while inverting it after the necessary cooling time but my fears were laid to rest when it easily came out with no cranberries sticking (remember to grease well). This is a cake that should be served hot from the oven  but since the potluck was the next day , just stored it outside in a cake container and warmed it in a microwave for 2 minutes.

The recipe also calls for adding cream of tartar to stabilize the whites. Didn't have any so substituted that with equal measure of lemon juice . Judging by the very positive feedback I got for this cake , don't think this substitution affected the cake a bit. The cake turned out better than I expected. The sugar and butter caramelized the cranberries and the crumb was soft and spongy . Give it a try this holiday season !

Ingredients -

5 tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
8 oz ( I used as much as required to cover it up)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter at room temperature.
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs separated
1/2 cup of milk at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar ( I used lemon juice ).

Method -
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease your cake pan .
Take a small sauce pan and put the butter and sugar in it . Keep the flame at medium and stir .
Continue stirring for a few minutes after the sugar has dissolved and the  butter has dissolved.
Now pour the caramelized mixture in the greased pan.
Cover it evenly with the cranberries.

Now for the cake batter.

Sieve all the dry ingredients -flour,salt and baking powder and set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar till soft and fluffy .
Add the vanilla extract followed by the egg yolks.
Continue to beat while adding the flour mixture ( in three parts) alternately with the milk .
Now add the dry ingredients , making sure as to not over mix.
Ina clean separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and lemon juice till stiff peaks are formed.
Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture with the help of spatula in two additions.
transfer the cake batter into the pan at bake for 35-40 minutes or  till a toothpick comes out clean .
 ( mine was done in 35 and had pulled away from the sides too).
Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack and invert it on a plate or cake stand.
Best when served hot.


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