Go Back
+ servings
Pinterest pin image for Cast Iron Cranberry Brown Sugar Cake

Cast Iron Cranberry Brown Sugar Cake

Cast Iron Cranberry Brown Sugar Cake a quintessential fall dessert featuring a beautifully balanced cranberry and brown sugar topping.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
cooling time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: African American baking, bake, cake, cast iron, cast iron baking, cast iron cooking, christmas baking, christmas dessert, cranberry, cranberry cake, healthy, holiday baking, holiday dessert, low sodium, old fashioned cranberry cake, old fashioned recipe, orange cranberry, skillet cake, upside down cake
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 297kcal

Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.


  • cast iron skillet, 8 inches or larger


Did you know that it’s super easy to print out a version of a half recipe or even a double recipe on Not Entirely Average? Hover over the serving size (highlighted in blue, it says 12 on this recipe) and then slide the the white line to the left to make less or to the right to make more. This "calculator" allows you to play until you get the number of servings you want. Easy. 

    Ingredients for Cast Iron Cranberry Brown Sugar Cake

    • 3/4 cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
    • 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened to room temperature, divided
    • 1/4 cup orange juice + 2 tablespoons, divided
    • 12 ounces cranberries fresh, thawed if using frozen
    • 1 1/2 cups flour all purpose
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 large eggs brought to room temperature, yolks and whites separated
    • 1/3 cup canola oil
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup milk low-fat or 2%
    • freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving optional but VERY TASTY!


    The Method

    • Preheat oven to 350°F.
    • Heat brown sugar and 2 tablespoons each butter and orange juice in a large ovenproof cast-iron skillet, over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and the mixture starts to bubble, about 3 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. ** Coat the sides of the pan with the butter as it melts using a rubber spatula.
    • Bring the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice and cranberries to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until about half the cranberries have popped, about 5 minutes. Pour evenly over the cooled sugar mixture in the pan.
    • Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
    • Separate egg whites and yolks. Place the yolks in a large bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, oil, granulated sugar and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add to the flour mixture in stages, alternating with the milk, using a rubber spatula, starting and ending with the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated and no more.
    • Beat the egg whites in a clean dry bowl with clean dry beaters on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest until almost no white streaks remain. Spread the batter over the cranberries.
    • Bake until the top is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan, 30 to 40 minutes. **I test for doneness at 30 minutes. If the cake needs longer, I test in 2 minute increments until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
    • Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let cool for at least 30 minutes more before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with whipped cream or a quality vanilla ice cream, if desired.


    **I have never experienced this cake not releasing upon being inverted. I am sure to butter the sides of the skillet as the butter is melting in the early stages of preparation, using a rubber spatula. I demonstrate this is my video above. I also leave the skillet in place over top the cake plate once inverted for several minutes to give it time to release completely. 


    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 1mg

    Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.