Honeycrisp apples have a firm texture that holds up well during baking; Macoun, Empire, or Fuji are other good choices. Fresh (or frozen) cranberries contribute flavor as well as some juice; do not substitute dried cranberries. A mini-chopper makes quick work of chopping the cranberries.
To make this Northeastern interpretation of an old-fashioned upside-down cake, cranberries and toasted pecans are topped with buttery batter, and then baked and inverted. The cranberries soften in the oven but the pecans stay crunchy, lending a textural flourish.