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Upside-down cake is the dessert world's equivalent to everyone's favorite breakfast treat: sticky buns. Just as sticky buns bake in a pool of sugar, butter and raisins, then are flipped over so all that lovely sticky sweetness is on top, so does the appropriately named upside-down cake. Butter, sugar and fruit are arranged in a pan, the cake batter poured over it, and after baking the cake is turned upside down, revealing a moist, sweet fruit topping.
Pineapple upside-down cake is a long-time favorite in this genre, but other fruits serve equally well in place of pineapple. Try cherries and almonds, apples, or pears. Here unpeeled nectarines lend a real summery taste to this year-round treat.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large (12 to 14 ounces) ripe nectarines
2 teaspoons (1 ounce) lemon juice
1 1/3 cups (5 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 large egg
Topping: Melt the butter, and mix with brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 8 x 8-inch square baking pan. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Cake: Slice the nectarines 1/4-inch thick. Lay the slices into prepared pan, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the milk, egg, and vanilla or almond extract. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. Gently pour the batter over the fruit in the pan.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from sides of pan, and springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Invert the pan onto a serving platter, and let it sit 1 minute more before removing pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, use a spatula to carefully scrape it off and replace it on the cake. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. II, No. 8, August 1991 issue.