Note: Abby Mandel says she's passionate about cranberries. The Upside-Down Cranberry Cake created by the longtime Food section columnist won her many converts. It was a unanimous choice for our annual Top 10 list. There are several things to be careful about, as we learned from a few reader calls when we published this the first time. Be sure to use cake flour and the right size cake pan and to test the batter for doneness in the center of the cake. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Because oven temperatures vary, the time may be slightly different than that indicated.
Active Work Time: 20 minutes
Total Preparation Time: 1 hour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for greasing
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups cranberries, rinsed, picked over and at room temperature
Generously grease 9-inch springform pan; wrap outside with foil (to avoid leakage). Set aside on baking sheet.
Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add sugar, water and cinnamon. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries. Pour into pan and spread evenly. Set aside.
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. On low speed, add half of flour mixture. Mix until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add remaining flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Transfer batter to springform pan, spreading evenly over cranberries.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, edges just begin to pull away from sides and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set on rack 10 minutes. Run knife around edge to loosen cake. Invert onto plate. Remove foil, ring and pan bottom. Replace any cranberries that fall. (Can be made up to two days ahead and kept at room temperature, covered airtight.) Cut into wedges and serve.
14 to 16 servings. Each of 16 servings: 403 calories; 232 mg sodium; 63 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 71 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.45 grams fiber.