Apple-cranberry upside-down cake

Total Time
1 hr 10 min
25 min
45 min
This is one of our favorite fall-time cakes ever. Not only is it beautiful, it incorporates all of the popular autumnal flavors, from fresh apples to dried cranberries and apricot jam. The apples and cranberries are cooked with an irresistible combination of brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice. This recipe calls for melted jam so you can easily brush it on top of the cake after it finishes baking. It's really simple to do: Just combine the apricot jam and water (or use fresh lemon juice if you have some left over) in a custard cup. Microwave on High until bubbly, about 8 seconds. It makes quite a difference in this apple cake recipe.


Packed brown sugar

¼ cup(s)

Unsalted butter

2 Tbsp

Fresh lemon juice

1 tsp


2 medium, Golden Delicious, peeled, halved, cored, and cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)


2 Tbsp

Dried cranberries

cup(s), chopped

All-purpose flour

1¼ cup(s)


¼ cup(s)

Baking powder

1 tsp

Baking soda

½ tsp

Table salt

¼ tsp

1% low fat buttermilk

1 cup(s)

Canola oil

¼ cup(s)


1 large egg(s)

Vanilla extract

1 tsp

Apricot jam

2 Tbsp, melted with 1 teaspoon water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a nonstick 9-inch round baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, butter, and lemon juice in a large nonstick skillet and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add the apples and water; cook, stirring, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cranberries; remove the skillet from the heat.
  3. When cool enough to handle, arrange the apple slices in concentric circles in the baking pan. Top with the cranberries and scrape any sugar mixture remaining in the skillet on top; set aside.
  4. Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla in a separate medium bowl. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture just until blended.
  5. Pour the batter evenly over the apple mixture. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around the cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert onto a serving plate; lift off the pan. Brush the top of the cake with the melted jam. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 1⁄12 of cake per serving.