Whenever I bake, I have this childish habit of knocking the cake pan on the counter-top thrice and crossing my fingers to make sure it is a good bake. As much as I love experimenting with recipes, wasting ingredients is something that annoys me very much. So I take some help from lady luck to make sure my bakes turn out the way I want it to. Lately, I have taken a liking to upside-down fruity cakes, much to the amusement of the boys! I shared an upside-down orange cake recipe last month. It was a huge hit at our house. I think I have said this before, but we really really love citrus cakes.
I love adding fruit in cakes. Then I can pretend that a slice is a complete meal. There is fruit, carbs and dessert, all in one. What do you say?!
I have made many fruity cakes like upside-down cakes, cakes with fruit slices on top, cakes with chopped fruit in the batter and all that. All these recipes make use of a basic vanilla cake batter for the base. I love the idea so much, I even put fruit on focaccia dough!
Until I started making them regularly, I thought upside-down cakes were just disasters waiting to happen. I feared that the fruit might stick to the pan or the batter will magically overflow or worse, the cake somehow will slide down to the floor mid-flip. Ouch! But doing something as basic as lining the bottom of the cake pan with a piece of parchment paper will ensure a beautiful finished product. It really is as simple as that.
Then comes the fruit layer. In this recipe, I have used plumcots, a cross between plums and apricots. Summer stone-fruits are excellent choices for upside-down cakes. They are pretty, juicy and simply bursting with flavor. So are apples, pears, pineapple, banana, all kinds of berries, oranges and anything in that family. You can arrange the fruit on a thin bed of caramel sauce or simply pour some melted butter and brown sugar at the bottom. The fruit slices will shrink slightly as they bake, so use more fruit than you think you will need.
Then comes the batter. My favorite batter is a buttery yet light vanilla batter. This will work with almost any kind of fruit. Granted that upside-down orange (or other citrus fruit) cakes do taste better with a citrus-infused batter to better carry the citrus notes throughout. (You can see this post for such a specific recipe with orange juice and buttermilk.) That being said, if there is one recipe that you are going to save for any and all of your upside-down cake needs, this recipe right here should cover it. This batter is buttery, but not overwhelmingly so. It is flavored with vanilla, though you can also add cardamom and cinnamon for fall fruits (apples and pears) and citrus zest for summer bakes. The cake bakes nice and even, will not break apart while flipping over and tastes better as it sits a few days in the fridge.
I love how the butter and brown sugar at the bottom meld together to form this luscious, amber-gold syrup that coats all the fruit slices. Isn’t that stunning for something as simple as a fruit-studded cake?
Add a dollop of freshly whipped cream on top and you will also end up making these flipped cakes all the time. It is so good.
When someone asks you what you were up to in the kitchen, you can tell them, “Oh, nothing really, just baked a simple upside-down cake. Do you want some?”
- For the topping,
- Butter - ¼ cup , melted
- Brown sugar - ¼ cup
- Fruit - 3 cups, sliced or chopped (specifically, I used 4 plumcots in this cake)
- For the cake,
- All purpose flour - 2 cups
- Baking powder - 1 tsp
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Cinnamon or cardamom powder - ½ tsp, optional (use with fruits like apples, pears and bananas)
- Butter - ¾ cup, softened
- Sugar - ⅔ cup
- Eggs - 2, large
- Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
- Milk - ½ cup
- Lemon or orange zest - 1 tsp, optional (goes well with berries and citrus fruit)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg.F. Grease and flour a 9" round cake pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- Pour the melted butter in the pan. Scatter the brown sugar over it. Try to do this as evenly as possible so that all the bottom of the cake pan is covered.
- Arrange the fruit slices in a concentric pattern. Arrange fruit slices closely as they will shrink ever so slightly as they bake. Set pan aside as you prep the batter.
- Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set side.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy, around 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat till well combined. Add vanilla extract, milk and zest (if using) and mix well to combine.
- Add the sifted dry ingredients and milk alternately, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Batter will be thick.
- Pour this batter carefully over the fruit slices in the pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 35-40 minutes or till the cake passes the toothpick test.
- Remove cake from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake with a knife or thin spatula. Invert the cake onto a cake stand or serving platter. Cool slightly, slice and serve cake warm or at room temperature. Add a dollop of whipped cream on each slice.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. Cake can be reheated lightly in the microwave before serving.
Stand back, admire this work of art, then dig in!
Make sure to SAVE or PIN this recipe for later. Trust me, you NEED a good upside-down cake recipe in your life.
Do you make upside-down cakes? Any favorite recipes? Do share.
See more fruit-based cake recipes below.
- Upside-down orange cake.
- Upside-down apple-cranberry cake.
- Strawberry vanilla cake.
- Skillet apple cake.
- Orange pound cake.
- Fresh peach muffins.
- Blueberry vanilla muffins.
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