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New England Cranberry Duff

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.

New England Cranberry Duff

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2005


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, (1 stick), softened
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and halfway up sides of an 8-inch square glass baking dish using 2 tablespoons butter. Spread cranberries evenly over bottom of dish. Sprinkle pecans on top, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup sugar; set aside.

  2. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; set aside. Put egg and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually beat in flour, and then salt. Pour in melted butter in a slow, steady stream, beating until smooth.

  3. Slowly pour batter into pan to cover cranberries. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge to loosen, and invert to unmold onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Reviews (21)

  • kathchev 15 Mar, 2014

    I just made this recipe and I love, love, love it. I added some grated orange zest which added a burst of freshness. I plan on trying this recipe using strawberry, rhubarb or blueberry and peach with lemon zest.

  • CHRISM12 6 Jan, 2013

    I made this today, having to convert US to UK measures. So far this looks absolutely fabulous in the 9 x 5 inch loaf tin which I lined with parchment.I hardly dare tell you but I used salted peanuts as thats all I had in my cupboard.Other than that I stuck to the recipe / temperature etc. Excellent !!
    North East England.UK

  • Jessistewart 14 Oct, 2012

    I just finished making this recipe and it looks exactly like the picture. I used a 8x8 inch silicone pan. I doubled the recipe! I waited five minutes after I took it out of the oven before I cut around the edges. I waited five more minutes before flipping it over. Came out easily!!! Looks perfect!

  • DaveTO74 4 Oct, 2010

    I made this for the first time tonight, and it turned out perfect! I added orange rind and doubled the batter as well. I used the knife to cut around the edge after 5 minutes, then flipped it over after 5 more...and it came out without issue! I also used a 6x9.5 inch pan. It is pretty tart which is nice, but I added an icing sugar and milk drizzle!

  • Karen524 30 May, 2010

    I have made this twice. My husband LOVES it. I did, however, double the cake portion of the recipe as others have suggested. I still had trouble getting it out of the baking dish. Next time I'm going to try the buttered parchment paper as someone suggested. Since I can't get cranberries this time of year, I'm going to bake this cake with blueberries that we will be picking next weekend. We'll see how that turns out.

  • NicoPony 25 Nov, 2009

    Total failure. There is not nearly enough batter to hold this thing together. It ends up a syrupy mess. In fact, the photo is laughable. I'd like to show you what mine looks like. This one needs to go back to the test kitchen.

  • criminy 13 Jan, 2009

    This was excellent and my guest loved it, but it was very hard to get out of the pan without breaking.

  • jogs 18 Dec, 2008

    I tried this and it's delicious. Textures are wonderful but love the orange zest with it. Thanks for another recipe that works for the family!

  • stephaneff 27 Nov, 2008

    I had trouble with this sticking even after reading the comments and using a little extra butter on the bottom. It was easy to repair and you couldn't even tell it was broken. Tasty!

  • EWjunk 2 Jul, 2008

    We thought this was very tasty. I love the combo of cranberry and orange, so I added 1 tsp orange zest and 1/2 tsp allspice to the cranberries and 1 tsp. orange extract to the cake batter. I scooped it into small glass compotes and served it w/ whipped cream.

  • ersi 14 Apr, 2008

    This is the 3rd time I' m making this cake and I came to the conclusion that one must double or even triple the dough incredients. Since where I come from, cranberries are very hard to fine I try it with strawberries and works fine.

  • MaggieDwyer 18 Dec, 2007

    I have been making this dessert since it first was published a couple of years ago, and every time I give it to someone I get rave reviews. Cranberries and toasted pecans--the food of the gods! I took portions of this dessert to two neighbors this morning and had "thank you!" messages on my phone this evening, and a request for the recipe. The sticking is the one difficulty; make sure it really is "golden" brown and it does come out more easily.

  • dkaluzny620 27 Nov, 2007

    Delicious, buttery flavor with lots of texture (cake, berries, nuts).
    I suggest lining your pan with heavily buttered parchment to keep the cake from sticking.

    I wonder if anyone's tried doubling the cake batter portion of the recipe? I would have liked more "cake" with all that deliciously buttery fruit and nuts. I might give it a shot next time . . .

  • Zinasp 24 Nov, 2007

    This is great! Even though the sticking (I used frozen cranberries) is a problem, I managed to prod it out of the pan and push back to together, hoping to take it to Thanksgiving at my daughter's. Unfortunately, my husband who doesn't care for sweets, tasted it and ended eating most of it before it hit the dessert table. Yummy!

  • merevans007 22 Nov, 2007

    Fabulous! i made it as one of the desserts for Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it. I am sure there won't be any left by the end of the day!

  • cinnamonskyes 19 Nov, 2007

    This recipe was so good that even the non-cranberry enthusiasts in the family had a slice! I had problems with it sticking also (have to work on that) and I used the fresh cranberries. My next try at this I"m going to drizzle the top with white chocolate...

  • weildingthebellows 16 Nov, 2007


  • Regan 13 Nov, 2007

    I made this a few weeks ago because I couldn't stop thinking about the picture--it's so easy and really delicious. Be sure to really butter your pan well before baking -- my frozen cranberries stuck a little, but I'm sure that fresh ones would be no problem.

  • hannelore911 12 Nov, 2007

    Hi, I'm making this cake again this year. Everybody always loves it.. Hannelore S

  • Amy_Price 10 Nov, 2007

    I make this every year for thanksgiving and christmas. It is easy and very good.

  • glendamae 10 Nov, 2007

    it looks easy to make i just hope it comes out good as it looks...

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