Cranberry Pistachio Upside-Down Cake

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This festive dessert with tart cranberries and nutty pistachios is simple, scrumptious and perfect for holiday parties.

Serves: 8-10
Difficulty: moderate
Active prep time: 30 min
Non-active time: 60 min
Special tools: food processor, mixer, 9″-round cake pan (not spring form)
Advance prep: can be made one day ahead


1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c + 3/4 c white sugar
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c cranberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
1/3 c + 2/3 c pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, room temp
1 t vanilla extract
2 t orange zest
8 oz crème fraîche or 1 c sour cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, 1/3 c white sugar and 4 T butter. Cook and stir until the mixture bubbles and sugars dissolve. Pour onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle with cranberries and 1/3 c chopped pistachios.

Place half of the flour and 2/3 c pistachios in a food processor bowl and grind the pistachios as fine as possible. Transfer to a medium-size bowl, add remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well to blend ground nuts with flour mixture. Set aside.

In a mixer or large mixing bowl, cream together softened butter and 3/4 c white sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time then stir in vanilla and orange zest. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with crème fraîche or sour cream. Spoon batter into pan, covering cranberries and pistachios. Tap onto counter 2-3 times to release any large air bubbles.

Bake in preheated oven 50 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min. Run a small knife between cake and pan to release, then invert onto serving platter and carefully remove pan. The cake must be inverted while warm, otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pan. Serve warm.