Makes 1 (9-inch) cake or 12 mini cakes
For the topping:
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1½ cups cranberries
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and sugar until melted. Pour into the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Place the cranberries on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.
For the cake:
1½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1¼ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350º F
In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir in the cornmeal and lemon zest. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low just until combined.
Stir in the extract.
Dollop the cake batter on top of the cranberries; spread with an offset spatula, or if making mini cakes, pipe or scoop the batter on top of the cranberries.
Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when touched.
Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes, and invert onto a serving platter. Serve with whipped cream.