Gluten-free + Vegan Recipe | Spiced Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake

by Courtney West on November 23, 2013

cran orange cake 8 Have you ever popped a raw cranberry into your mouth?  It’s one of the most mouth-puckering experiences you will surely ever have.  In fact, you can’t really taste much of the cranberry itself without being overpowered by the tartness.  Despite the pucker, once cranberries are cooked with a bit of sugar, they transform into the beloved winter berry that is sure to grace many tables this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

While I’m all about a good homemade cranberry relish, I’m also for mixing things up a bit.  Why not elevate the humble cranberry from side dish to dessert?  In my mission to figure out how I wanted to showcase these ruby red berries, I decided to go a little old-fashioned with an upside down cake.  The sugar and fruit in the bottom of the pan form a beautiful caramelized layer that when flipped, create a jewel-toned topping for the cake.  The cake itself is rather unassuming but it serves as the perfect backdrop for the spiced cranberries.

cran orange cake 6

Spiced Cranberry Orange Upside Down Cake

Serves 8 to 10. notes: you can use either a regular round cake pan or a springform pan, but I find it easier to un-mold the cake using a springform pan.  If you don’t have the different flours called for below, you can use 200 g of an all purpose gluten free flour mix.

cran orange cake 1 Ingredients:

  • 275 g raw cane sugar, divided
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 medium/large orange
  • 200 g solid coconut oil, plus more to grease the pan
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp flaxmeal + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed together and set aside to gel
  • 60 g sweet rice flour
  • 40 g brown rice flour
  • 100 g sorghum flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp whole psyllium husk
  • 2 tsp baking powder

cran orange cake 2 Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch cake pan or springform pan with about 2 tbsp of coconut oil.  Don’t skimp on the oil because you will be creating a caramel and you want to ensure the cake will un-mold once baked.
  • Mix 125 grams (about 1/2 cup) of the sugar in a small bowl with the cloves and cinnamon.  Once combined, sprinkle the sugar mixture in an even layer over the bottom of your greased pan.
  • Zest the orange into a small bowl and set it aside.  Slice off the ends of the orange, then carefully remove all of the remaining white pith and discard it.  Cut a few thin slices of the orange and set them aside.  Squeeze the juice from the remaining orange into the bowl with the zest.
  • Carefully arrange the orange slices on top of the sugar, then add the cranberries and arrange them in an even layer, making sure to completely cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Combine the flours, salt, baking powder, and psyllium husk in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the 200 g of coconut oil and the remaining 150 g raw sugar together until creamy and fluffy.  Add the reserved orange zest and juice to the mixture along with the vanilla extract and the flaxmeal mixture.  Beat until everything is incorporated and creamy.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two separate additions, mixing well after each.  The batter should be thick and creamy.
  • Carefully dollop the batter over the cranberries and oranges, then gently spread it in an even layer.  Make sure you completely cover the fruit in the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the pan in your preheated oven and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes until the edges are just starting to turn golden and pull away from the pan and the top is firm to the touch.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for at least 20 minutes.
  • Once the cake has cooled, gently run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan next to the cake, then invert it onto a plate to un-mold it.  If it gives you trouble, you can gently tap the bottom of the pan with a spoon to help it release.
  •  Enjoy the cake as it is or with a dollop of freshly whipped coconut cream.

What are some of your favorite things to make with cranberries?

About Courtney West

Hi I’m Courtney! I'm the owner and creator behind Sweet Miscellany, a very small baking venture based out of Longview, Texas. I specialize in creating vegan, wheat free, and gluten free treats as well as seasonal jams and preserves. Originally I began with the intention of creating healthier sweets made from whole foods and "better for you" ingredients. As my brother, sister, and I had to give up gluten, I began to see the need for more gluten free, wheat free, and vegan baked goods. My baking evolved (and is still evolving) to be able to provide a wide variety of baked goods and desserts to those that may not be able to enjoy conventional sweets. Having to be gluten free or choosing to be vegan (or being both!) should not mean that you have to be deprived of anything, especially dessert! The transition to baking gluten free and vegan has been quite the learning process, but it has taught me that anything is possible as long as I keep at it.

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