Wednesday, February 15, 2017

David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake

Super easy to bake and great on taste.
David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography
David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography

David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography

I was supposed to post this for before Valentine's day. I procrastinated  to the point it was as late as the morning of 14th and then Murphy (law) struck and had an unexpected project to work on.. So before this becomes a Thanksgiving post, let me get started.

The recipe is from David Lebovitz, with  variations. He is an amazing chef and I just love his recipes, I have never been disappointed. Thank you David for being so awesome, we love your recipes.

Now, I am not sure how many of you are following my love story...not my love story, but the fictitious love story I'm writing. Are you guys enjoying it ? is it a stupid idea?? you are begging me to stop writing ? If you are, I won't be offended as there are days when I am begging myself to stop writing, wring being my waterloo. Till you respond,  you will be painfully subjected to what happens next.

 The love story

the gift...

Part 1
Part 2

They were officially a couple now, and it was quite obvious to everyone but her. At the end of the day, relationship is also an investment, one day it might bloom into a treasured relationship. But life is not a balance sheet nor is it black and white.

It was the weekend, valentine's day was right around the corner. Red roses were such a cliché , chocolates in heart shaped boxes, cuddly soft toys... they all seemed lame. "Am I missing out on small pleasures by overthinking the gifts, maybe I should get her that heart shaped box " Neil thought to himself. He parked by the mall and walked inside, it was so easy with an expressive girlfriend, like his last one. He never had an issue, as she would have spelt it all out in the name of subtle hints. Nat was different, she would never say anything but still expect.

It was a silk scarf, hand painted with tiny blue-green motifs on them. It was perfect for her, classy and sophisticated.

Dinner was planned, it was a fine dinning place, it looked small and obscure, but finding reservation was a stroke of luck, just like wining the lottery. Thankfully he knew someone, who knew know how that works. Thai cuisine at it's finest, paired with the best wines... It was going to be a wonderful evening.

It was till Sunday and Nat had cooked up a storm in the kitchen, her specialty Indian.  No one could beat her in the kitchen...maybe he should plan a throwdown with Bobby Flay... that would be fun to watch. "Are you cooking for me?" Nat almost shouted at was the third time she had said that but Neil was busy visualizing her knocking off Bobby  in the kitchen. "yes! I am making dessert for you..." the moment he said that he bit his lip... he had planned the dinner...There was no way he would be cooking for her ... and dessert, he could barely stir the sugar in tea. "That is so exciting, I can't wait" her eyes lit up. Only food makes her eyes lit up like this...he thought to himself.

It takes a lot to step out of your comfort zone to do something different. After 2 recipe flops and a lot of determination plus a back ache...this was it, the last recipe he was going to try.. the kitchen looked like a disaster zone. The only reason why he had picked the recipe was because of the cranberries, they had survived two months in the refrigerator, he did not even remember why he had bought it, it had something to do with Thanksgiving.

The hand mixer was hot to touch...he had bought the cheapest one he could find, it was just for $15. If  Nat ever wanted to cook in his kitchen, it would make him look good. She had one of those fancy million dollar devise, you changed parts, she had a drawer dedicated just to different things that went on it.  ... it was huge and intimidating.

Coffee - Simi Jois photography He drank up his coffee, and waited for the silly thing too cool, it was a mess. The cook books had been of no use, wasted trip to  the library. Everything looked way to complicated. Thankfully he found this recipe on a chef's blog.
Cleaning up a mess was no fun, it was easier to do the dishes at Nat's and watch her chat....
It was time for the cake. This time everything in precision and in place. He measured everything ito a bowl - reading the recipe,  not like the last cake which called for baking soda and he had used baking powder. You learn everyday, soda is not equal to powder.
A less messy kitchen, a cup of coffee and reading the instructions and prepping was helping. Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel.
The time  to put the cake in the oven... with all the planning... even the pros forget to preheat the oven...

David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography
The moment of truth, the cake looked too good to be true. Neil scarped the underside to taste and it was perfect.... was that really him. Love makes you do strange things.
to be continued.....
David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake

The cake can be made on a cake pan provided it can be used to heat on the stove top. The best option is a cast iron skillet - 9 inch (23 cm) . If nothing else, just pour the topping into the bake-ware. Don't rush to buy a skillet. Recommendation - do not use springform pan ( I was this close to using it and am so grateful, David mentions it)


  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, recipes calls for light brown, which I did not have in my pantry.
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (do not defrost)


  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal or polenta - I used cream of wheat (dry also called rava)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cubed at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest of one lime
  • 3 tbsp. grated fresh ginger ( optional - not in original recipe)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract ( I used ginger juice)
  • 1/2 cup low/whole fat milk


1. In the cast iron skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of  brown sugar and butter, stir, until the sugar is  liquefied. when it begins to bubble,  keep the skillet aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
3. In a bowl, whisk  the flour, rava (cream of wheat- dry), baking powder, and salt, keep aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or if you are using a hand mixer, in a mixing bowl, whip the ½ cup of butter, granulated sugar, grated ginger and lemon zest at medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until it becomes light and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, at medium - low setting of mixer.  Scrape  the sides, if necessary. Mix in the vanilla extract.
6. Now, at low speed, add half of the flour mixture, followed by milk, then the remaining dry flour mixture, mixing so that they’re all combined. Do not overmix.
7. Add  the cranberries in the  cast iron pan over the brown sugar -butter mixture and arrange so it is an even layer of cranberries. Spoon the batter over the cranberries and spread it with spatula, make sure the cranberries don't mix in. Very gentle.
8. Bake for about 40-50 minutes the cake  golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, wait 10 minutes, then run a knife around the cake edges..

9. Invert the cake on serving tray and let it sit for 10-12 minutes, pat the cast iron and slowly  separate the two using oven mitts. Serve warm.

10. Can be warmed in the microwave.

David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography
David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography

David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography

David Lebovitz's Cranberry Upside down Cake - Simi Jois Photography

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