This Blackberry Bourbon Upside Down Cake is super moist and rich, without being overly sweet. The bourbon soak gives it a ton of moisture (and depending on the bourbon) a lot of really rich, citrusy flavor. It's a really simple, easy dessert that looks elegant on a plate! Plus, sometimes having to add frosting and ice a cake can be a step too many. With this cake, you can simply flip it out on a cake stand, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, and you're done! Easy like a Sunday morning.
What is an Upside Down Cake?
Well, so glad you asked. Most people turn to pineapple upside down cakes as their go to, but there are so many other options. Put simply, an upside down cake is a cake where the bottom of the cake pan is actually the "top" of your cake. Usually, you'll fill it with some kind of fruit or design. When you go to flip the cake "right-side up," your left with all that beautiful stuff that was on the bottom of your pan, now on the top.
The trick to a good upside down cake is a well greased pan. I also like to melt a small amount of butter and mix it really well with brown sugar until it's homogeneous. I pour that into the bottom of the pan before adding my fruit. This helps put a barrier between the cake and the bottom of the pan, ensuring an easy release when you flip. BUT, be careful, when you use fruit that releases a lot of liquid (like apples), this can cause way too much liquid in the "top" of your cake, resulting in too much moisture on top when you flip. While still tasty, it doesn't produce the best looking cake.
What kind of bourbon should I use?
For this blackberry bourbon upside down cake, I used Southern Comfort's bourbon. Southern Comfort is a New Orleans based bourbon, so they really rely on a lot of this quintessential New Orleans flavors–think like a Sazerac, sweet and spicy. There's hints of citrus, vanilla, and cinnamon. But, it's not as bold a flavor as something like Fireball's cinnamon, which I find a bit overwhelming. I definitely would not recommend that for this unless you really want that cinnamon to be punched up. If so, I would leave out the cinnamon from the batter.
So, something like Jim Beam would work as well. While it's not as citrusy as Southern Comfort, it still has a really wonderful caramel depth that would bring out the nice "golden" flavor in this cake. I would probably add an extra ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter though.
I mean, with whiskey, you can't really go wrong. Just think about the taste of your whiskey and what it adds to your cake!
Fresh or Frozen Blackberries?
I am not a stickler for fresh fruit for baking. I don't think you need to go to the local farmers market and only use ingredients picked from the garden that day. While I think there is a lot of benefit in using super fresh food, I don't think there's anything wrong with frozen food. Often, it's easier (and cheaper!) than fresh produce.
But, if you do want to use frozen blackberries, make sure you let them defrost completely before adding them to the bottom of the pan. The extra water at the bottom of the cake will make the top WAY too moist, and it will result in a weird texture on the top. But, if you let them defrost first, they will be fine!
Upside Down Blackberry Bourbon Cake
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup blackberries
- ½ cup butter
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups AP flour
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup greek yogurt
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup bourbon (to soak after baking!)
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Grease an 11" pan. Melt your butter and brown sugar together. Stir until homogenous. Add to the bottom of your pan, then sprinkle in the blackberries. Set aside.
- Beat the sugar and butter together until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Once full incorporated, beat the mixture on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 3-5 minutes. The mixture should lighten in color.
- Add in your baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half of your flour. Stir until fully incorporated. Add in vanilla, greek yogurt, and half of your milk. Stir until fully incorporate. Add in remaining dry ingredients. Add in remaining wet ingredients. Stir until fully incorporated. Gently pour batter into pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
- While the cake is still hot, poke shallow holes (try to go through most of the cake, but don't push through to the bottom) around the cake. Then, taking ¼ cup of bourbon, saturate the cake evenly.
- Let cool until the cake pan is still warm, but you are able to now touch it. Turn a cake stand upside down onto the cake pan, and holding them firmly together, flip them right-side up. Giving the cake pan a gentle tap, lift straight up. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!