Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Orange

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Christmas, Large Cakes | 8th December 2013 | By

A sweet, tart and colourful cranberry upside down cake. It’s made with white chocolate and flavoured with orange and cardamom. Chilli is an optional extra. Perfect for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day or any other winter festivities. Cranberries aren’t just for turkeys.

It was the last Clandestine Cake Club of the year and to cheer us up through the dank, dark days of November, the theme was “a splash of colour”. Time was of the essence. I had to leave the house at 8:30 to get to the venue at Truro for 10:00 and I had to create my bake that morning. So not only something colourful, but something simple was also needed. I knew the very thing.

I’ve made cranberry upside down cake a few times and it’s always very well received. However, this time I felt the addition of some warming chilli wouldn’t go amiss. So the last vestiges of my Dartmoor Dragon white chocolate chilli bar winged its way into the mix. Talking of dragons, I’m looking forward to the next instalment of The Hobbit, coming to a cinema near you sometime very soon.

So literally hot out of the oven and into the back of the car, off we headed to Truro. Who needs an air freshener when they have hot cake on board? We had a wonderfully fragrant drive.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake with Orange & Cardamom

This cranberry upside down cake is wonderfully versatile. I’ve made it with just cranberries, with cardamom, with white chocolate, with orange and even chilli. The version I’ve given in the recipe below is an amalgamation of all of these, minus the chilli. I highly recommend the addition of white chocolate, it just gives a little extra depth and substance.

If you fancy a chilli version, use chilli white chocolate, as I did for the Clandestine Cake Club. If you can’t get hold of any, just add a little chilli powder or cayenne powder along with the flour.

Fresh cranberries aren’t always easy to find, so it’s fine to use frozen if that’s all you have.

Though I say it myself, the cranberry cake was absolutely scrummy. It benefited, I felt, from the addition of the white hot chilli chocolate. Everyone seemed to enjoy it at CCC too. It was moist with a  good flavour and the tartness of the berries offset the general sweetness. Heavens, that naga chilli, even in such a small quantity, still had a bit of a kick to it. It wasn’t as fast acting as my previous bakes, but it crept up on you and left a warm glow in the back of the throat.

Clandestine Cake Club

The colour of my cake wasn’t quite as vibrant as some, but it held its own both in looks and taste. A splash of colour was a particularly appropriate theme, given our venue was an art shop in Truro. Thanks go as always to our splendid organiser Ellie Michell and to Truro Arts Company for the colourful venue.

Coffee at Truro Art Shop

Coffee at Truro Arts Company.

Clandestine Cake Club - November 13

A Splash of Cakey Colour – Clandestine Cake Club

Red Stripy Teapot at CCC

Loved this Red Stripy Teapot.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this festive cranberry upside down cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake. PIN IT.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Cranberry Upside Down Cake – The Recipe

Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

A sweet, tart and colourful cake made with white chocolate and flavoured with orange and cardamom. Chilli is an optional extra. Perfect for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's Day or any other winter festivities.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, cardamom, Christmas, cranberries, upside-down cake, white chocolate
Servings: 10 slices


  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • 175 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
  • 250 g fresh cranberries
  • 50 g white chocolate (I sometimes use white chilli chocolate)
  • 200 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 4 cardamom pods (unless using cardamom sugar)
  • pinch of sea or rock salt
  • 1 orange - zest and juice
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 225 g wholemeal spelt flour (or half wholemeal flour and half plain)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp sour milk or kefir


  • Melt the butter in a large pan.
  • Add the sugar and leave on the heat for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cranberries. Leave to one side.
  • In a large bowl placed over a pan of not quite boiling water, melt the chocolate.
  • Cream the sugar and butter until pale in colour and fluffy in texture.
  • Grind the seeds of the cardamom pods to a powder and add along with the salt and orange zest. Cream a bit more.
  • Beat in the eggs alternately with a spoonful of the flour (see next line).
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder.
  • Stir in the sour milk or kefir along with the orange juice.
  • Turn the cranberries and sugar into a 23cm round silicone cake mould or lined tin, then pile the batter on top.
  • Bake for 40 minutes at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a plate.


Fresh cranberries aren't always easy to find, so it's fine to use frozen if that's all you have.


I’m entering my orange cranberry upside-down cake into Four Seasons Food with Anneli over at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg. The theme is Party Food and it just so happens that I baked this yet again, yesterday, for a friends party. I’m also sending a slice off to Javelin Warrior for his Made with Love Mondays. And finally, Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes is doing a Fresh Cranberry Link Up, so linking up is what I’m going to do.


  1. Stralisemiai

    8th December 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I am so hungry just reading this now! 😀

    • Choclette

      10th December 2013 at 6:36 pm

      I’ve made it again since, it’s that good!

  2. manu

    9th December 2013 at 9:18 am

    I like upside down cakes…are so funny!!! And yours looks so beautiful!
    Have a nice week

    • Choclette

      10th December 2013 at 6:37 pm

      You’re right Manu, the name is a funny one. Thank you for your kind thoughts as always.

  3. Daphne Bryson

    9th December 2013 at 9:48 am

    Good Morning to you, I love the look of this cake and yes, it certainly brightens up a dark and gloomy day. Do you know I have never used cardamom or chilli in a cake before. I have used them in savoury foods, but I have never added them to a cake. I am really intrigued by this cake and I think it will be a fun cake to try. The drive to Truro must have been lovely with the car smelling of a freshly baked cake…..were you not tempted to cut into it…. only joking. There was a huge range of cakes baked by the Clandestine Cake Club members…. the chocolate cake with what looks like little Easter eggs looks very impressive.
    Thank you for a very interesting cake recipe.
    Best Wishes

    • Choclette

      10th December 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Thank you Daphne. I’m a big fan of both cardamom and chilli in bakes, but haven’t used them both together very often. I get quite excited when I use an ingredient in unfamiliar circumstances. Do give either / both a try. Cardamom works particularly well with orange I’ve found.

  4. Johanna GGG

    9th December 2013 at 10:24 am

    great theme for your CCC – and your cake does look fantastically colourful and the spice would have added a bit of colour to the flavour too 🙂 Though 10am in the morning for a table full of cakes sounds rather early for me but then I guess any time is cake time esp in winter when you need a slab to warm your cockles

    • Choclette

      10th December 2013 at 8:30 pm

      Don’t know if it’s the time of day or just being overwhelmed by the quantity of cake, but I am always disappointed at how little cake I can eat. It was certainly a colourful occasion and as you say, the chilli added a little additional colour.

  5. Christian Halfmann

    9th December 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Oh, that sounds and looks so very delicious. The red stripey teapot looks good too. So bad I already have more than enough teapots.

    • Choclette

      10th December 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Are you a teapot hoarder Chris?

  6. Suelle

    9th December 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Wow! You’ve packed a lot of flavour into this cake! It looks great, too.

    • Choclette

      10th December 2013 at 8:33 pm

      Thank you Suelle. I made it again this weekend for a party and added an additional 100g of cranberries so that the bottom / top was completely covered.

  7. Kate@whatkatebaked

    9th December 2013 at 7:52 pm

    I love the idea of a cakey air fresher- I think you’ve booked yourself a slot on Dragons Den right there! What a cheering theme for winter and a great offering

    • Choclette

      11th December 2013 at 8:38 pm

      Now that’s the sort of business I’d be happy to go into Kate 🙂

  8. Javelin Warrior

    9th December 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I’m also excited for the release of the next installment of the Hobbit! It looks good and the last one has had me waiting impatiently for this one… And loving the cranberries for this cake. Such vibrant color and I’m sure it’s delicious with the mix of sweet and a little spicy…

  9. Angie Schneider

    10th December 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I have always enjoyed a good upside down cake. This looks fabulous!

  10. countrywoodsmoke

    10th December 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Big fan of chilli and chocolate in a cake, and this looks wonderful, love the way the cranberries look like studded jewels.

  11. Recipeswith Touria

    10th December 2013 at 10:51 pm

    i like it ……….yours looks so beautiful

  12. Baking Addict

    10th December 2013 at 11:56 pm

    The flavour combination sounds great and it looks so pretty. I love the theme splash of colour – such a great idea!

  13. Deena Kakaya

    11th December 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Oh wow, I can just imagine how wonderful and embracing these flavours area, would love you to enter one of your lovey creations into the fab fusion foods challenge! Xx

  14. Anneli Faiers (Delicieux)

    11th December 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Gorgeous cake! I bet the bust of those juicy cranberries is lovely and then the chilli chocolate in there too! My kind of cake 🙂 Thanks for entering Four Seasons Food xx

  15. Gloria Baker

    12th December 2013 at 11:28 pm

    This look really beautiful!! xxx

  16. Rachel Cotterill

    13th December 2013 at 4:55 pm

    It’s definitely cranberry season! 😀

  17. Jen Price

    14th December 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I’m a big fan of Nigella’s cranberry cake but have never deviated from the original recipe, I love what you’ve done with the extra spices and white chocolate it sounds extra festive and comforting. I’m going to have to buy more cranberries now and give your version a go. Thanks for adding this to my cranberry linky 🙂

  18. prwilson

    16th December 2013 at 2:45 am

    Cardamom is very underused in my opinion.

  19. Tracy K Nixon

    16th December 2013 at 3:40 am

    Lovely Festive recipe thanks!

  20. Deborah Torr

    7th January 2014 at 11:13 am

    pictures look gorgeous!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *