Top | Rustic Fruit Desserts

Upside-Down Sweet Cherry Cake

(recipe, Cory Schreiber & Julie Richardson)

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This recipe is trickier than others in this book in two respects: the caramel topping and the inversion of the cake both require attention. The trick to making the caramel is to stay at your stovetop; do not walk away at any point during the caramelizing process. Also, remember that the melted sugar will be extremely hot once you pour it in the pan, and the intense heat will persist long after your mind has moved on to making the rest of the recipe, so be careful. After the cake has baked and cooled and it is time to invert it onto a plate, be sure the plate is large and flat enough that you can easily flip the cake over. If you do this in one swift, confident motion, you will have no trouble. This wonderful cake is especially delicious served with a dollop of Chantilly Cream.


  1. 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature, for the pan
  1. ¼ cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  2. ¾ cup (5¼ ounces) granulated sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
  4. 4 cups (1½ lbs.) pitted sweet cherries
  1. 1¾ cups (8¾ oz.) all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  3. 1 tsp. baking powder
  4. ½ tsp. baking soda
  5. ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  6. ¾ cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter
  7. 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
  8. Zest and juice of 1 orange
  9. 2 eggs, separated
  10. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  11. ¾ cup (7½ oz.) sour cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-square baking pan, preferably one with a nonstick surface.
  2. To make the caramel topping, melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat, then stir in the granulated sugar and lemon juice with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. As it boils, it will become foamy and change color from beige to amber brown. Once it turns amber, remove it from the heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the cherries in a single layer on top of the caramel with the pitted sides facing up.
  4. To make the cake, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Using a hand-held mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and orange zest together on medium-high seed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. The batter will be thick. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold half of the whites into the batter, incorporating them fully before adding the second half.
  5. Carefully pour the batter into the pan and gently spread in an even layer over the cherries. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top of the cake is firm and the center springs back when lightly touched. The cake will be very brown and might crack slightly in the middle; do not worry about any of this, as the cake just has a lot of moisture inside from the cherries, and it will be inverted before serving. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack for 45 minutes.
  6. To flip the cake out of its pan, first run a knife around the edges, then place a flat plate or serving platter face down over the top of the cake and quickly invert the cake onto the platter in one fell swoop.


Wrapped in plastic wrap, the cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.