Upside Down Cornbread Cake

Upside down Cornbread cakeHere’s a shout out to another backstage baker, Mr. Randy Stricklin-Witherspoon!  Randy is a dresser over at “Wicked,” and a truly fierce baker and chef.  In addition to working eight shows a week, he has  a catering business that serves the Broadway community called Spoonfed NYC.  Folks can place orders through his website for deliveries anytime.  On Wednesdays and Saturdays, he drops off a selection of foods at various shows, and people pay on the honor system.  Last week at “Kinky Boots”, here’s what he had on offer:

Spoonfed food close-up

Randy is raising money to open a Southern restaurant on 9th Avenue called Spoonfed’s New York Country.  (Here’s a link to his GoFundMe campaign for more information.)  And check out a recent article on his project here.

But what’s really important is the food, right?  Here’s the dessert that everyone’s requesting from SpoonFed NYC right now — Upside Down Cornbread Cake.  Randy tells me that this recipe is great with canned fruit cocktail or your favorite seasonal fresh fruit. (His personal favorites are a combo of fresh berries and maraschino cherries.)  He also says the crumbled topping is so pretty that you may not want to turn the cake upside down.

Remember, more is more, and this recipe is all about more please!  “Eat it like you mean it!” is his motto and after you see the recipe below, you’ll understand.  (How he manages to keep that eight-pack of his intact is a mystery . . .)


for the Cornbread:

(You can, of course, always just use a box of Jiffy Corn Bread mix, but if you like to make things from scratch, see below):

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk

For fruit sauce:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
15 oz. fruit cocktail (drained) or fresh berries
12 oz. maraschino cherries (drained)

Crumb Topping:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Fruit Sauce:

Melt butter, then add brown sugar to a large cast iron skillet*.   Spread and brown evenly.  Add cherries then spread fruit over cherries. (Reminder — drain all fruit prior adding to skillet.)


Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Combine the cornmeal, sugar and eggs in another bowl and stir well. Add flour mixture to the cornmeal and continue stirring until blended. Stir in melted butter and buttermilk.  Pour cornbread mixture over fruit and spread evenly in skillet.  Let sit for a few minutes to settle before sprinkling with crumb topping.

Crumb Mixture:

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl and mix with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle on top of cornbread.

Bake in cast iron skillet* for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. To check doneness, insert tooth pick and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.

Place a large plate or a platter on top of skillet and turn over. Tap sides and lift gently.

*Note —  Make sure the skillet you use doesn’t have a plastic handle!  If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use a large aluminum cake tin, about 11″ round or 9″ x 13″ square.

pans for cornbread

Serves about 12.

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