higgledy-piggledy cranberry-orange cake

Or better known as a cranberry – orange upside down cake :0)

No matter what you call this … it’s AWESOME.  Actually … it’s FANTASTICALLY DELIGHTFUL!!!!

Yes … writing it all in uppercase letters will hopefully convince everyone to try this cake for the holidays.  It’ll be a great addition to your holiday spread … the tart cranberries and the sweet orange … with that brown sugar caramel glaze … mother of pearl.  This one is a keeper.

I first made it a couple of weeks ago … we were celebrating my uncle’s birthday and quite a few people came into town … my mother, her sister, her brother, my brother, my cousin (a grand total of 12 people around the table) … it was a Dumas family reunion of sorts … and one thing the Dumas Clan loves … is dessert.

My grandmother always baked up the perfect dessert … so I’ve taken it upon myself to keep her memory alive and come up with something I think she would like.

This is one of those recipes.

And the best part … it is quick and easy.  Simple really.

I promise.

After all … if you tuned into ctv ottawa morning live yesterday you would have seen me whip up the batter with Kurt Stoodley in about 5 minutes … ok … for reasons of accuracy … it does take longer than 5 minutes … but this is still a quick and easy one.

Even Kurt felt confident enough to whip this up at Christmas.  And to be honest … I hadn’t fully committed to making this recipe yesterday until about 60 minutes before I had to be in the studio … and I was able to make it, bake it, transport it, and serve it in just under 75 minutes.

Not bad.  And it makes for a pretty funny story.

I’ve made this as both a regular 9 – inch round cake and as a bundt cake (it resembles a holiday wreath) … both work really well.  The bundt is great because it doesn’t need as much baking time … and I needed to get that cake in and out of the oven as quickly as possible yesterday!

bakers note … if using a regular round pan … don’t use your  spring form pan … that’s not such a great idea … the caramel will likely leak out of the bottom and cause a mess in your oven.  We learned that lesson when I made that mistake for my uncle’s dinner.   :0)

higgledy-piggledy cranberry – orange cake



1/4 c. butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 package cranberries, fresh or frozen (don’t thaw if using frozen ones)


1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
1 orange, zest and juice, use the entire orange.
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. buttermilk

Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Make your topping.

In a pan over low heat, melt the butter.  Remove from heat and add the brown sugar.  Stir the brown sugar – butter until you get that wet sand texture.

Spread the brown sugar mixture along the base of the pan and then spread the cranberries on top of that.

In the bowl of your stand – mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the orange zest, eggs and orange juice and beat again until everything is incorporated.

Add half of the dry ingredients to the mix, beat until just incorporated.

Add all the buttermilk.

Once slightly incorporated, add the rest of the dry ingredients and beat everything together (always at a slow speed once you start adding flour to your batter).

That’s it.  Spoon the batter over the cranberries, take a spatula to smooth it out and then bake.

If it’s a bundt pan it should take between 40 – 45 minutes.  If it’s a regular round pan it should be closer to 60 minutes.  I always check a little before, just to make sure.  You want the batter to be firm but bounce when you touch it with your finger.

Allow to cool in the pan for 15 – 20 minutes on a wire rack.

Run a knife around the outside of the cake and then invert it on a serving plate.  I find that sometimes not all the cranberries come off – I just take them off the bottom of the pan and place them back on top of the cake.

Then dig in and enjoy.

I don’t think I’ve ever had so many requests for a recipe …  or for a cake.  I’ll be making this one again tomorrow and over the weekend.  It’s a real winner!

12 thoughts on “higgledy-piggledy cranberry-orange cake

  1. That looks particularly delicious. Neat how it is wreathy considering the season. I could see you making holly leaves of chocolate and decorating on top. After it cooled a bit of course! You really love your baking.

  2. I just took this cake out of the oven and it smells delicious, can’t wait to share it tomorrow. Thanks Lynne for sending me the recipe earlier today!

  3. Thanks for the recipe…sounds yummy! I will definitely make this for Christmas. Have a magical Christmas and lots of happiness in the new year.

  4. I am soooo going to make this for my family.. Just wondered tho if it was possible to substitute the white flour for rice or ?? as I am gluten free 😦

  5. Hey Lynne,
    Once again I have one of your delicious recipes in the oven 🙂 Do you mind letting us know whether you usually use a convection oven for your baking? It’s just I use convection and sometimes it can throw times off when baking, so it’s helpful to know (although of course all ovens are different anyway…)

    • Hey Angie! I don’t use a convection oven … and as tante Michele says – it should be about 25 degrees lower if using one. I’m so glad that you are enjoying the recipes on my blog. That’s AWESOME!

  6. Lynne – I made this for my mom’s birthday dinner on Sunday – It was FABULOUS – so easy and delicious – people were fighting over the leftovers! Thank you for yet another amazing recipe! I will make this one again – soon! (my mom says a huge thank you as well!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s