Pumpkin Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

My son’s viola teacher, Sandra, asked for advice regarding traditional Thanksgiving family fare. The next thing I knew, she had given me a copy of a recipe for Pumpkin Cranberry Upside-Down Cake featured in Sunset Magazine’s November 2007 issue. I made several changes to it, most notably removing the sugar, dairy and gluten and was pleased with the results.

This dessert is a rich, moist cross between a pumpkin cake and a pumpkin pie. Perfect for that post-Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving time of year. Try it on a windy day with a warm cup of tea.

Pumpkin Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

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Servings 24


Cranberry Mixture



  • Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with a piece of parchment paper (use scissors to cut to size)
  • In a medium bowl, combine cranberries, walnuts, agave and grapeseed oil (or shortening)
  • Pour cranberry mixture into lined baking dish
  • In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
  • In a vitamix, combine oil, agave, eggs and cooked pumpkin; blend on high speed for 30 seconds or until smooth like pudding
  • Stir wet ingredients into dry
  • Pour batter evenly over cranberry mixture
  • Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes
  • Run a knife around the edge of the baking dish, then place a large plate over the cake and invert cake and plate together
  • Remove the baking dish from the cake and then peel off the parchment paper
  • Allow to cool to room temperature and serve
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Tried this recipe?Mention @elanaspantry or tag #elanaspantry!

Be forewarned, this may be the most complicated recipe I have posted to date. Even saying the multi-syllabic name of the recipe is work. The most challenging part in making this fall comfort food is getting all of the ingredients together. After that, it’s really just a quick three step process.

Thus far, this gluten free, dairy free, naturally sweetened pumpkin cake appears to be a big hit with young and old. My little boy and his friend Leo recently devoured half the cake in one afternoon.


30 responses to “Pumpkin Cranberry Upside-Down Cake”

  1. I did make this and offer it as one of the dessert choices for Thanksgiving. I am allergic to eggs as well as dairy, grains, cane sugar and gluten, (basically vegan PLUS meat, :) )so I replaced the 3 eggs with 3 T flax seeds ground and 7 T of water. I also hadn’t read the forum yet, that suggested that Bobs RM almond flour was not a good choice.

    It came out AWESOME! The texture was a LOT like pumpkin pie. I think I could have even baked it in a pie dish and left it upside down with the walnut, cranberry as a crust.

    My next quest will be to try to convert a vegan pumpkin ice cream recipe that I found on the web to agave instead of using brown sugar. Have you tried anything like that yet?

    Thank you again – for sharing. There were several of your recipes on my Thanksgiving table – including the cranberry relish and pumpkin custard.

  2. Do you think fresh cranberries (chopped) would work the same? Should I adjust the amount? I think this would be a great dessert to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving feast!

  3. li,

    Thanks for sharing the results of your experimentation with us. I think the chocolate version sounds really interesting, I wouldn’t have thought of that. I bet my boys would love it.

    Thanks Again,

  4. Thanks for this absolutely delicious recipe!!

    I made this for Canadian Thanksgiving and it was fabulous!

    I made a few substitutions/changes because I didn’t have any grapeseed oil and was running low on almond meal and agave nectar:

    -used 4 eggs instead of 3 and omitted the grapeseed oil
    -used about 2 1/2 c almond meal (maybe even a little less)
    -substituted about 2 tbs maple syrup for some of the agave nectar (in each the walnut-cranberry step and the wet mixture step)
    -added about 2 tbs of rum to each the walnut-cranberry step and the wet mixture step
    -added some ginger (say 1/2 tsp) to the dry mixture

    I also tried dairy-free choco chips instead of cranberries (and baked in a separate pan). I think the chocolate overpowered the delicious pumpkin flavor and wouldn’t recommend it…everyone liked the cranberry version better!

  5. Sue,

    I’m not sure how everything would turn out as I haven’t made this recipe with canned pumpkin. This would be a great experiment! If you try it, please let us know your results either here or in the forums.

    If you don’t want to experiment, you can always pose your question in the forums to see if anyone else has tried it.


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Recipes » Desserts » Cakes and Cupcakes » Pumpkin Cranberry Upside-Down Cake