Happy Holidays! Lowbush Cranberry (Lingonberry) Upside-Down Cake


Bursting with the flavors and colors of the holidays, this lowbush cranberry cake makes a beautiful centerpiece for a fall table and, if there is any left, the breakfast table the next day!

Oh, these little red gems, these sour little beauties. They go straight from the freezer into a delicious batter and bake up into a cake you’ll want to share with friends.

Lowbush cranberries (as they are known here in Alaska) are our superstar fruit of fall and winter. Known as lingonberries elsewhere, these tart, tiny red berries grow close to the ground in cold, boggy habitat of northern climes. They taste similar to the cranberries we used to buy in the store, but they are so much better. As with many small, wild fruits, they are packed with more flavor than their mass-produced counterparts. And according to the University of Alaska, our lowbush cranberries contain more antioxidants due to clean air and long summertime sunlight hours. The berries are easy to pick and easy to clean and are widely available in our neck of the woods just around the time of the first frost. So far, we’ve made them into hot juice drinks and cranberry sauce. Now they are starring in this sumptuous upside down cake.

Lingonberry aka Lowbush Cranberry Upside Down Cake


Bottom Layer

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 cups lowbush cranberries (or substitute store-bought cranberries)


  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted or browned
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Penzeys powdered lemon zest (or zest of 1 lemon)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk


  1. In a small saucepan, heat 4 tbsp unsalted butter and brown sugar.
  2. Stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted together and bubbling.
  3. Pour mixture into bottom of 9 inch cake pan. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  5. Whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, lemon zest, eggs, vanilla and milk.
  7. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk together until mixed.
  8. Pour cranberries evenly on top of butter mixture in the 9-inch pan.
  9. Pour batter evenly over cranberries.
  10. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Wooden pick inserted into center will be clean when cake is done.
  11. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  12. Run a knife around the circumference of cake. Invert on cake platter to serve.
  13. Serve warm.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.

4 thoughts on “Happy Holidays! Lowbush Cranberry (Lingonberry) Upside-Down Cake

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