SQIRL’S UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE from EVERYTHING I WANT to EAT {recipe}

persimmon upside down cake
Upside-down cake recipe as it appears in Jessicas Koslow’s Everything I Want to Eat cookbook first. My adaptations, personal notes, and shopping resources follow.

UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE {recipe}

Season dictates pear, plum, or blood orange

Makes 1 10-inch cake, serves 12

INGREDIENTS

For the Caramel “Topping”

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
½ cup packed brown sugar
pinch of fine sea salt

For the Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
4 or 5 plums (1 pound), pitted and sliced; if plums are not in season use either pears or blood oranges

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides, then line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment as well.

Make the Caramel “Topping” In a small pot set over low heat, stir together the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Once the butter has melted, whisk it to combine completely with the sugar, then pout it into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.Put the pan in the freezer.

While the topping freezes, make the cake batter: In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the orange zest, vanilla, and salt. While the mixer is running, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add about one-third of the flour mixture, then add half the buttermilk, followed by another one-third of the flour, then the remaining buttermilk, and finally the remaining flour.

Remove the pan from the freezer and, working quickly now to keep the caramel cold,arrange the persimmons (plums) cut-side down in a single layer on top of the frozen caramel. Pour the batter over the plums, gently smoothing it out without disturbing the fruit. Bake for about 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted three-quarters of the way into the cake comes out with no uncooked batter stuck to it.

Let cool in the pan, then run a butter knife around the edge and invert the cake onto a serving plate.

Store, loosely wrapped (because it’s kind of gooey), at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Note on the Cake Pan Size: Do not attempt to bake this in a standard 8- or 9-inch cake pan—it will overflow.

Pear-Ginger Variation: Try making this cake with pear and ginger instead of plums. To do so, leave out the orange zest and add 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger to the cake batter at the same time as the vanilla. Fan out thinly sliced pear in place of the plums, and scatter chopped candied ginger over the fruit before pouring in the cake batter.

Blood Orange Variation: You could also choose to make this an upside-down blood orange cake. For that option, use only ½ cup buttermilk and add ¼ cup fresh blood orange juice. Cut away the peel and white pitch of 3 blood oranges, then slice oranges into thin rounds and remove and discard the seeds. Arrange the fruit in a closely packed single layer on of the frozen caramel.

persimmon upside down cake

NOTES and RESOURCES

  • I used a 9-inch round springform pan (instead of 10-inch) because that is all I have. I just spooned out a little bit of the cake batter from the pan before baking because I was paranoid by the note in the cookbook about the cake’s overflowing if baked in a smaller/regular cake pan. I also placed the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven.
  • I followed the directions for the Pear-Ginger Variation of this cake to incorporate fresh ginger.
  • I used Fuyu persimmons as the fruit (as opposed to pears/plums). Fuyu persimmons are the flatter, squatter, hard persimmons, as opposed to Hachiya persimmons that are an oblong cone shape, and are eaten when very soft.
  • All fresh herbs and produce from either the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Wednesday or Hollywood Farmers Market on Sunday, or Whole Foods Market when I can’t find it at the farmers’ market.
  • Ice cream in the photo is Vanilla Bean from McConnell’s

persimmon upside down cake

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