Cranberry and Walnut Upside-Down Cake

Fall is the perfect time for fresh cranberries. This cranberry upside-down cake is the perfect fall recipe. The fresh bright flavor of the cranberries goes well with the cinnamon and cardamom.

The first time I made this was for a work potluck. I wanted to make something in the spirit of fall and stumbled upon a similar recipe. This has now become an annual treat I make for my co-workers and friends. 

In this recipe

While I love to use fresh cranberries for this recipe you can use frozen ones just as easily and it tastes just as good. I have a pecan allergy so there are very few recipes that I will show with pecans in them.

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However, that being said this is a recipe that does very well with pecans as well. Feel free to substitute almost any nut you would like to. Macadamia, chestnut,  hazelnut, and almonds all work well in this recipe. Conversely, don’t use any for those of you, like me, that have nut sensitivities. 

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What’s great about cardamom and cinnamon is that they are warming spices. They are like getting a hug but in food. I love to use both of these here because they pair so well with cranberries. 

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Won't this thing stick to the pan?

It might sound strange that you do not grease the pan before you add anything to it. In this case it is true though. The butter and sugar for the cranberry and nut mixture will help. However it is important to remove the cake while it is still warm. 

Cranberry upside down cake topped with whipped cream and a cup of hot cocoa
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By working with the cake still warm it will help with separation from the pan. Keeping this in mind there may be some cranberries staunchly clinging to the pan for dear life. Just pluck those little suckers of and place them back in their home on the cake.

Slice of cranberry upside down cake
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Cranberry and Walnut Upside-Down Cake

Fresh cranberries and walnuts on a spiced cake that is perfect for the holidays.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 slices
Calories 359 kcal


  • 9"x 3" round cake pan
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Saucepan
  • Silicone spatula


  • 3 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups flour
  • cups brown sugar
  • cups butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup walnuts chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Preheat the oven to 325°F or gas mark 3.
  • In a bowl combine the flour, spices, salt, and baking powder together and whisk to combine.
  • In the saucepan heat 6 tablespoons of butter and 6 tablespoons of sugar together. Pour it into the bottom of the cake pan and add the cranberries on top.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium high speed beat the remaining butter until it is light.
  • Add the sugars and continue to beat until the butter becomes more pale. Add the eggs one at a time waiting a minute between each egg.
  • Add the vanilla and reduce the speed to low.
  • Add half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Add all of the milk and mix until just combined. Finish with the rest of the flour mixture. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the batter over the cranberries and spread with the spatula.
  • Bake for an hour and a half or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the cake starts getting darker then cover it with foil to prevent it from getting too dark too fast.
  • Remove from the oven and run a knife gently around the sides. Place the cake pan on a cooling rack and invert while the cake is still warm. Take any cranberries that stuck to the pan and put them back on the cake.


Serving: 1sliceCalories: 359kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 4gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 137mgPotassium: 110mgFiber: 1gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 540IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Brown Sugar, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cranberry, Holidays, Walnut
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