Upside Down Cakes Made Easy with Nonstick Pans
Layer cakes might get all the love for birthdays and coffeecakes have their fans, but I think upside down cakes get short shrift. Pineapple upside down is a classic (and our bacon version should be) and the genre lends itself to all sorts of variations. Right now cranberries are at the market and I adore their tart flavor and the way they burst in your mouth. After making a cranberry lime sauce for Thanksgiving I decided to apply those two flavors in a cranberry lime upside down cake – and the results were richly colored and glistening as well as deliciously unexpected. The lime really adds something and is as easy as a few swipes of zest on a microplane zester. Sometimes I use a cast iron pan for upside down cakes but I had just received a new Calphalon Contemporary Nonstickpan and I decided to give it a trial by fire. I used the 10-inch and the recipe of course starts on top of the stove with melting butter and sugar. Then into the 350°F oven it went to bake. The cake baked evenly and most importantly for this dish, unmolded perfectly. Clean up was snap too. I shared the cake with neighbors who added a dollop of whipped cream, but I like it as is. I leave any embellishment up to you.
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 cups fresh cranberries, picked over
- 1 cup sifted cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons lime zest, made using a microplane zester
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For Topping: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place 10-inch nonstick pan on stovetop, add butter and melt over medium heat. Sprinkle sugar evenly over melted butter and stir occasionally until sugar is melted. Remove from heat and pour cranberries into pan in an even layer.
- For Cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
- Beat sugar and eggs together with an electric mixer until very light and fluffy and have increased in volume; they will be pale yellow. Beat in zest. Sprinkle flour over batter and use a balloon whisk with a folding action to incorporate. Whisk melted butter and vanilla together and drizzle over batter slowly while using balloon whisk to fold the liquid in so that it is evenly dispersed and suspended in the batter (see Tips). Scrape batter into pan spreading evenly over cranberries.
- Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden over all and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Immediately run a thin small icing spatula gently around the outer edge to loosen and invert cake on a large serving plate.
- Serve immediately or at room temperature. Cake is best served the same day. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream if you like.
- If you add the melted butter and vanilla too quickly it can sink to the bottom of the light sponge cake and create a rubbery layer. Just drizzle/dribble in slowly and whisk to incorporate and it will work.
- After unmolding if you should have any cranberries still stuck to the pan, simply remove and place on cake. If you use a nonstick pan this shouldn’t be an issue.