Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cranberry Pecan Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake

This pumpkin recipe has been on my to-do list since last Thanksgiving.  Somehow, it didn’t end up on my menu last year, but I am so glad I finally tried it!  The recipe was featured in an article on Inside Scoop SF, suggesting we look beyond the basic pumpkin pie for delicious Thanksgiving desserts.  While I will never abandon a classic, creamy pumpkin pie, this is a scrumptious sweet treat that would surely be a welcomed addition to any Thanksgiving dessert spread!  The pecan caramel upside-down topping brings to mind chewy pecan bars, and the dried cranberries are a perfectly tart complement.

The original recipe calls for fresh cranberries, which would add more tartness and moisture to the topping.  Since I got impatient waiting for fresh cranberries to arrive, I used dried cranberries instead (half the original amount).  I also decreased the quantity of the butter/sugar caramel by a quarter and added some nutmeg and cloves (I can’t help myself).  The caramelized topping brought just enough sweetness to the cake without weighing it down.  The cake kept very well for a couple of days covered tightly in plastic wrap.  Enjoy!

Cranberry Pecan Pumpkin Upside-Down Cake
Makes one 8-inch square cake

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, toasted
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1½ cups all purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8-inch square pan with non-stick spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the brown sugar and whisk until the sugar dissolves.  Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.  Sprinkle the cranberries and pecans over the butter and sugar mixture and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, oil and sugar. 

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, just until combined.  Pour the batter over the dried cranberries and pecans.  Try to keep the batter in an even layer so the cranberries and pecans don’t get displaced (the upside-down topping will be prettier for your efforts).

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Place the serving plate upside-down on top of the cake pan.  Invert the plate and pan together and carefully remove the pan.  Peel off the parchment paper to expose the beautifully delicious caramel topping.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  This cake is delicious on its own, but would also be great with fresh whipped cream or the ice cream of your choice!

(Recipe adapted from Emily Luchetti at Inside Scoop SF)  


  1. Amanda, this look delish! I just discovered your blog and share your love for pumpkin (I put it in everything...) Hope all is well with you!!!

  2. Thanks Kristen! I love that you do a blog with your sisters! So fun!