Monday, September 29, 2008

Pumpkin Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Mellow pumpkin. Tart cranberries. Crunchy pecans. Sweet, sticky caramel. Yeah, cake doesn't get much better than this.

The flavors in this cake work amazingly well together and yet are all fairly distinct. The uber mellow pumpkin cake tastes great on it's own, but is also great when you get bites of tart cranberries. The cranberries are mellowed and sweetened by the thick layer of caramel that soaks everything and the pecans offer a crunchy texture and their own flavor and work well with everything else.

I will note a few things though -- first, if you make this (and you really should if you like pumpkin and cranberries), be sure to put the cake pan on a baking sheet. Mine bubbled up over the edges creating a mess on the bottom of the oven which filled the house with smoke -- not fun. And it won't be fun to clean up tomorrow either. Also, be aware that the caramel mixture that you make can cause a glorious mess if you're not careful. I managed to splash hot caramel all over the stove, the floor, and the counters as I was trying to deal with the cake. Plus, you probably want to put the finished cake on some sort of slightly rimmed platter or cake stand since you have to take it out of the pan while it's still hot and while the caramel is still runny-- and there is a lot of runny caramel to get all over everything.

I also discovered the next morning that the cake wasn't quite done in the middle. The edges were perfect and where the cake was fully baked the pumpkin cake had no trouble standing up to the heavy layer of cranberry, pecan, caramel goodness on top, however, in the middle the cake was goopy, the top of goopy and those portions either need to be thrown out or eaten with a spoon by someone who likes underdone cake. :)

I found the recipe on alpineberry by doing a search for pumpkin in the Food Blog Search engine -- I had most of a can of pumpkin in the fridge that I really wanted to use up, and this recipe seemed like a good and slightly different use of the pumpkin. I also happened to have cranberries in my freezer from last winter that needed to be used up, and baking with cranberries rates right up there with pumpkin as far as I'm concerned so this was perfect.

1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups cranberries
4 ounces (1 cups) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Cake batter:
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and sides of the pan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth. Pour into the bottom of your prepared pan.

In a bowl, combine cranberries and pecans. Sprinkle the cranberries and pecans evenly over the brown sugar mixture in your pan. Set aside while you make the batter.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Carefully pour batter over the cranberry pecan topping and gently spread the batter evenly.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then invert cake onto a serving platter and carefully remove the parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before serving.


theminx said...

Wow - I'm drooling here. I might just have to make that cake very soon!

Ben said...

why oh why didn't i get a piece of this. *sigh*

Taby said...

OH, how I love Autumn... the colors, the weather... the flavors... mmmmmmm

Thank you for this recipe, and I'm sure my Mom & Gramma will thank you soon too, when I feed them some!

giz said...

Another wonderful dessert - it looks like a sticky bun that's grown up into a cake.

Leslie said...

Beautiful cake!I will take 3 or 4 slices!

burkie said...

yeah, it was delectable :)

Sappling said...

This was very, very tasty. I would not, however, use even half that amount of butter for the sugar/cranberry/pecan mix again. It was way too oily.