Sweet Cherry and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake

Sweet Cherry Cornmeal Upside Cake sliced on white
Recipe Development, Photography, and Food Styling by Yossy Arefi

Upside-down cakes are one of the very best ways to use just about any seasonal fruit. Blogger and cookbook author, Yossy Arefi, offers a version with juicy sweet cherries and a light and fluffy cornmeal-flecked cake batter. This cake pairs well with just about any fruit—try peaches or nectarines later in the season. Don’t forget to serve it with a bit of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Sweet Cherry and Cornmeal Upside Down Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • ⅓ cup (73 grams) firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup (113 grams) plus 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1¼ pounds (570 grams) sweet cherries, pitted
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs (50 grams)
  • 1½ cups (150 grams) cake flour
  • 6 tablespoons (54 grams) cornmeal
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5 grams) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 grams) baking soda
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, and butter pan and parchment.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar, 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter, and ⅛ teaspoon salt over medium heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Arrange cherries in a single layer on top of butter mixture.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat granulated sugar, zest, and remaining ½ cup (113 grams) butter at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and remaining ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) salt. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Spread batter onto cherries. Firmly tap pan on counter to settle batter between cherries and release air bubbles. Place pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake until golden, puffed, and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating pan and covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully remove ring; invert cake onto a serving board or platter. Carefully remove parchment. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.


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  1. Nearly all of your recipes with buttermilk call for ‘whole buttermilk’. In my local markets however, the only product I find is ‘cultured low-fat’. Can this be substituted or?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Lori,

      thank you for reaching out! We’re sorry you’re having trouble finding whole buttermilk in your area. We purchase it at our local Piggly Wiggly and Whole Foods. Some curb markets also carry it. In a pinch, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to a scant cup of whole milk. Stir it together, and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture starts to curdle. It won’t be quite as thick as what you can purchase in a store, but it should work. Happy Baking!

    • Hi Shelley! You can try this recipe with semolina flour as it has a similar texture. However, we have not tested this recipe with semolina so we can’t guarantee the results.


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