Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fresh apricot upside-down cake

Pineapple upside-down cake always evokes memories of my childhood. My mom made a killer pineapple upside-down cake. She'd put pecans in the center of each pineapple ring, way better than a maraschino cherry, in my opinion. That wasn't the best part of the cake, however. Unlike most cakes, the outer edge of a pineapple upside down cake is the best part of the cake. The brown sugar and butter form a thick caramely edge that makes getting to the end of your piece of cake kind of like getting a prize at the finish line. Back then, I didn't care much about the cake part of the pineapple upside-down cake, it was all about the caramel for me. I remember strategically planning my piece of cake to include at least one pecan, and the edge with the most caramel. This was not always an easy feat when competing with four other sisters with the exact same agenda. As mom would cut the cake, we'd all watch for that perfect slice and try to beat each other in the, "I want that piece, Mom!"

I got these gorgeous apricots this week and came across a recipe for apricot upside-down cake. I thought that that caramel topping  and the lightly almond flavor of the cake would be great with apricots. The perfect combo of tart and sweet with that wonderful caramel edge... I know, sounds awesome, right?!? Oh, and now that I'm cutting the cake, there are no worries about not getting that perfect slice.

Fresh Apricot Upside-down Cake

(printable recipe)

Source: Gourmet July 2003
For topping
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
10 or 11 small (2- to 2 1/4-inch) fresh apricots (about 1 1/4 lb), halved lengthwise and pitted

For cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs at room temperature 
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Make topping:
Heat butter in a 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet (at least 2 inches deep) over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter, then cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all of sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut sides down, close together on top of brown sugar.
Make cake:
Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt into a small bowl.
Beat together butter, sugar, and extracts in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat until mixture is creamy and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat just until combined.
Gently spoon batter over apricots and spread evenly.
Bake cake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Wearing oven mitts, immediately invert a large plate over skillet and, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate.Take care doing this, the skillet will be very hot! Carefully lift skillet off cake and, if necessary, replace any fruit that is stuck to bottom of skillet. Cool to warm or room temperature. 


Joanne said...

I just saw apricots on sale yesterday and wasn't sure what to do with them so I didn't buy them. Now I know exactly what I'll be using them for! This looks so delicious.

Delishhh said...

I don't know why but i have never been a fan on upside-down cake due to the amount of sugar that is in it. But this looks really good and doesn't seem to have that much sugar. Maybe this wil be my first try. Thanks for sharing.

bellini valli said...

This is killer!!!

grace said...

hmm--this is a new one! and here i thought i'd seen every possible version of upside-down cake. tis an inspired creation, i tell ya--bravo!

Elle said...

Bet the apricots went really well with the almond flavored cake...delicious!

Anonymous said...

What is all purpose flour ? Is it plain or self raising.

Victoria said...

Your apricot upside-down cake sounds soooooo delicious! I love abricots. abricot jam... abricot clafoutis... abricot compote... Great recipe!

Half Baked said...

Thanks for all the nice comments! To Anonymous, all purpose flour is just flour with no added ingredients and can be used for all purposes. Self- rising flour has added ingredients such as baking powder/soda and can only be used for things like biscuits. All of the recipes on my blog use plain all purpose flour, unless otherwise noted. Hope this helps.

Amy said...

I got adorable little apricots at our local farmers' market last week & knew I wanted to bake something, but no idea what (and never had before!) made this for family Sunday dinner & it was a big hit. So delicious - the sweet, buttery topping was balanced by the light cake. Will definitely make again, and maybe try with peaches or plums?

Half Baked said...

Glad you enjoyed it Amy! I think peaches would be killer on this cake. May have to make that myself real soon!