Bloggees, you don't even understand how proud I am of this friggin cake. I love cranberries, I love ginger, I love cake! This Food52 recipe hit my inbox and I immediately wanted to make it for the holidays. Luckily for me, New Year's Eve is, in fact, a holiday - so I decided that my friend Sasha's NYE potluck would be the perfect time for a cake debut.
Let me warn you though, this cake has approximately 13,000 steps. That's just a ballpark estimate, give or take a hundred moves.
Oh, and let me warn you also that I mixed up a couple of the steps here. It still turned out okay! I think for the most part the end result just had a bit more sugar in it than intended (I used candied ginger where I was supposed to use regular ginger, and used brown sugar and white sugar where I was just supposed to use white sugar), but I didn't hear any complaints from the peanut gallery (read: the people I practically force fed at the potluck.)
I'll try to note what I did and what the proper instructions were and you can go either way on it - like a choose your own adventure cake!
So, come on in! Join me on this journey, through the Candy Cane Forest, all the way to the Gum Drop Mountain! Or, to you know, bake your own cake.
First, you need to line up your ingreds. That's ingredients, for the non-hip crowd - just kidding, all my readers are hip! Maddy, move along now...
I think it only fair to note that, while I understand now what the instructions meant, labeling the cranberry-raspberry jam under "assembling and serving" is slightly misleading - technically you need the jam to assemble the cake, yes, but it is the very first thing you make in the recipe! How can you put an "assembling" thing as the first bit and not expect people to be confused!
For the upside down cake and extra cake layer parts, you'll need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour - 2 teaspoons baking powder - 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon salt - 6 tablespoons butter plus 2 sticks butter, divided (note: you should always bake with unsalted butter so you know how much salt you're adding to your overall dish!) - 6 tablespoons white sugar - 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (fresh is better, obviously) - 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts - 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped, candied ginger - 3/4 cup light brown sugar - 4 large eggs - 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - 2/3 cup whole milk
PHEW. That was a long list.
For the jam/filling part (the bit between the cakes that you make first), you'll need:
- 1 cup cranberries - 2 tablespoons finely diced fresh ginger - 3/4 cup white sugar - 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
For the ginger whipped cream, you'll need:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or, an entire carton, if you're making this for a 25 person potluck) - 1.5 teaspoons confectioners' sugar - 3 or 4 big pinches of fresh ginger
Here's where I got confused, and put candied ginger in the filling/jam, and put two kinds of sugar in the jam. You can use fresh ginger or candied, it apparently melts either way...!
Step 1: Make your jam. Following the original recipe, you should chop up your fresh ginger and add it, the 1 cup cranberries, 3/4 cup white sugar, and 1/2 cup water to a saucepan. Stir until it all mixes well and becomes soupey! You might want to put a lid on the pan as the cranberries will pop a bit when they cook and may get juice on you.
Once the cranberries are all popped, add your 1/2 cup raspberry preserves and stir until mixed.
You won't need all of the filling for the cake, but this just gives you some extra jam! Yum.
Step 2: Make your cake layers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together (so they mix evenly) your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Step 3: Butter and flour the sides of one of your cake pans (not the bottom.) See my attempt here:
Step 4: In a pan, melt the first 6 tablespoons of butter with the 6 tablespoons white sugar until it comes to a boil. Once it is mixed, pour it in the bottom of your first cake pan.
Step 5: Chop your hazelnuts and candied ginger, and pour those (along with the 2 cups cranberries) on top of the butter-sugar mixture.
Step 6: Use a mixer to beat the 2 sticks of butter until they're smooth.
Step 7: Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is creamy. Then add the eggs one at a time. Finally, beat in the vanilla.
Step 8: Mix half of the "dry ingredients" mixture into the batter, add the milk, then beat the other half of the dry ingredients until the whole mixture is smooth. Yay for handmixers!
Step 9: Separate your batter into two equal portions. Pour one portion over the "upside down" cranberry and hazelnut bit, and pour the other half into a buttered-and-floured cake dish.
I see you cranberries! Check you out, you go girlz! You do that layer cake thing! You're killing it!
Step 10: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then rotate (I don't know why, but, it doesn't seem to hurt anything) and bake for another 20 minutes or until a knife in the middle comes out clean/unsticky.
Step 11: Let both cakes cool on a rack (I used an upside down broiler pan with the holes in it - anything that lets air flow to the bottom of the cake pan will work!) and after 10-15 minutes, place a platter or flat surface (I used a cutting board) over the "upside down cake" part and flip it over. Let it sit like that with the pan-side up for another 10 minutes to cool (inside the pan, don't remove the pan yet until it's cool.)
Flip the other cake layer out onto a cooling rack.
Step 12: When both parts are cool enough, spread the jam over the bottom portion and then use a couple of spatulas to move the "upside down" part on top!
You're almost there!
Step 13: Take it to a potluck and bring your own mixer to make the whipped cream for serving!
Serve with copious amounts of heart clogging cream, and enjoy.
See? That wasn't so hard! There are lots of little steps but once you get the hang of it, you can make this for any event. And it probably won't take you as long to figure out as it took me. And everyone will love you.
I can't wait to make more upside down cakes!