Whiskey-Spiked Cherry Upside-Down Cake

Sneak a shot of whiskey into the cherries that will top this cinnamon-scented cake.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
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Caramel and Fruit:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, optional

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds pitted ripe cherries

2 to 3 tablespoons whiskey


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup granulated sugar

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk or 3/4 cup whole milk whisked with 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. For the caramel and fruit: In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, stir together the sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water to make a mixture like wet sand. Cook over medium-high heat until melted and light amber, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt if making a salted caramel. Arrange the cherries on top. Drizzle the whiskey over the fruit.
  3. For the batter: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cinnamon.
  4. Beat together the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, stirring until just incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter over the fruit and spread evenly. Bake until golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes and then invert onto a platter. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Cook’s Note

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.)