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Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

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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.

At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
one 8" square cake

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Topping

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 large ripe nectarines
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cake

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. To make the topping: Melt the butter, and mix with brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 8" x 8" square baking pan.
  3. Slice the nectarines 1/4" thick. Lay the slices into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. To make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
  5. Beat in the milk, egg, and vanilla or almond extract.
  6. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.
  7. Pour the batter over the fruit in the pan.
  8. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes in the pan.
  9. Invert the pan onto a serving platter, and let it sit 1 minute more before removing the pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, use a spatula to carefully scrape it off and replace it on the cake.
  10. The cake may be refrigerated for up to 5 days.