If you've visited any grocery store within the past couple weeks, you probably noticed some amazing sales on cranberries. I actually saw a deal for two bags for 99 cents, so I HAD to pick some up (they freeze quite well FYI). I've been adding cranberries to my morning smoothies for the past week, but I was getting a little bored and wanted to try something new. And lo and behold, I happened to have a Martha Stewart recipe for a cranberry upside-down cake...score!
Veganizing the recipe was pretty simple: all it took was simple substitutions for butter, milk, and one egg. I chose to use unsweetened applesauce for my egg subsitute, which I think made the cake extra dense and moist. If you're going more for fluffy, I'd try a standard egg replacer. However, I think the weight of the cranberries on top do call for a thicker cake.
One thing that you must ABSOLUTELY do is line your baking pan with parchment paper. I can't stress this enough (damn you, Martha)!!! Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way: simply greasing it is not enough, and you'll end up with pieces of cranberry topping stuck to the pan. If you look closely at the above pic, you can see where I had to put some of it back together again LOL.
Ruined top or not, the cake is still delicious. It's buttery, moist, rich, and pillow soft (yet sturdy enough to hold up the topping). I like that the actual cake isn't overly sweet, as the cranberry topping includes lots of sugar. In fact, it may look like too much sugar that coats the pan, but it's the perfect amount. Your end result will be a beautiful, crystallized, ruby red-stained glass effect of sugar and cranberries, complete with crunchy pockets of caramelized sugar.
The addition of cinnamon (and probably also the addition of applesauce) gives this cake a slight apple pie-like flavor, and also a bit like a cranberry cobbler. As you can probably imagine, it's amazing served warm and makes a good breakfast or dessert dish (try it with some vanilla ice cream!). And the longer it sits, the cranberry juice seeps down, making this almost like a pudding cake. Whichever way you decide to enjoy it, I'm sure you will!
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
(adapted from Everyday Food, December 2003)
Nutritonal data (per 1/8th slice): Calories 260, Fat 9g (Saturated 2g), Sodium 250mg, Carbs 44g, Fiber 2g, Protein 2g.