The secret to getting the fruit sweet and caramelized in this glistening jewel-like cake is letting it bake and bubble in the cake pan before adding the batter. Since you use only one bowl, cleanup is a breeze.
For the cranberries: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment and butter the parchment.
Mix the cranberries, butter, sugar, orange zest and juice in the prepared cake pan until well coated. (The butter will start to clump up from the cold fruit, and that is okay.) Bake until the cranberries are very soft and caramelized, 40 to 45 minutes.
For the cake: Meanwhile, beat the butter, sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla and almond extract in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.
Reduce the oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the cake batter on top of the cranberries and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula (the juice from the cranberries will float on top of the cake a little). Tap the pan on the counter three times to evenly distribute the batter. Bake until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes.
Cool the cake on the prepared rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the parchment. Put any cranberries that fall off or that stick to the pan on top of the cake. Let cool completely on the rack, about 1 hour. Brush the top with the honey and dollop whipped cream in the center of the cake before serving.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
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