Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Red, White and Blue Upside Down Cake

Red raspberries, blueberries and white cake. Gorgeous? You bet.
Upside down cakes, particularly the pineapple variety, are an American tradition. I'm personally not a huge fan of the pineapple ones, as they tend to be too sweet. Of course, I've never made one myself and when you can tailor something to your individual tastes it does tend to improve. These types of cakes have a caramel layer - butter and sugar - laid into the pan, topped with fruit and spread with a cake batter. As it bakes, the caramel cooks itself into a nice, sticky glaze for the cake. There are only two tricks to making one of these.
First, make sure you use enough fruit because the cake batter will surely stick to the caramel.
Second, you must flip it out onto a serving platter between 5 and 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. If you do it too soon, the caramel glaze won't be set enough. If you wait too long, the caramel will set the cake into the pan and you'll have to pry it out.
Any plain, basic cake will work for an upside down cake. This also works with many types of fruit: citrus, berries, bananas, stone fruits, etc. It is very easy to make and makes a nice dessert or can be served as part of a weekend brunch.
For an 8x8 square pan or an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter into the pan and top it with 1/2 cup sugar. Cover with the fruit of your choice - use 2-3 cups. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter. Pour batter over fruit, spread evenly, and bake according to cake directions, until a tester comes out clean. Wait 5-10 minutes, cut around the edge of the pan with a knife and turn the cake out onto a serving platter. It is best served warm, but still very good at room temperature.
If you're wondering why I didn't add my recipe to this post, it's because I entered this in the Pillsbury Bakeoff this year. Scoff if you will, but the odds of winning the million dollar grand prize are better than my odds of winning, say, the lottery. And it was fun to come up with the recipe!