Who doesn’t love a good upside down cake? Not only are they quick to make, but there are as many variations as there are fruits and if that doesn’t offer enough choice, you can multiply your options by combining them together. Upside down cake is particularly wonderful at this time of year, because with the Autumn comes an amazing abundance of fruit at its freshest and we are spoilt for choice by the array of flavours and colours that appear in our gardens, hedgerows and on the greengrocer’s shelves.
I have recently started a new job and last week, I had my first team meeting with my new colleagues. To mark the occasion and to share a bit of foodie goodwill, I decided I would take along cake. Well…. it seemed a shame not to use an opportunity to bake, especially as our freezer has broken (again!!) and I am having to avoid producing anything more than we can eat.
It turns out the new team I inhabit has no less than three gluten-avoiders (yay!!), with one also dairy free. I have been wanting to make more dairy free bakes for ages, so I am hoping for plenty of meetings at which I can present my experimental offerings……. Let’s hope they really like eating cake…….
Having been inspired by a few upside down cakes popping up on people’s blogs in the last few weeks, I thought it was about time I joined the fray….. I haven’t made an upside down cake in ages…… I think my last one was actually a delicious savoury version which you can check out here.
Team meeting cake, on the other hand, needs to be sweet and when some very large, fresh, juicy red raspberries caught my eye on a trip to the farm shop, my mind was made up…… this upside down cake needed to be nectarine melba! Red raspberries interspersed with deep orange-yellow nectarines, set into sweet, soft sponge……Yum! I don’t know about you but for some reason, red fruit and especially raspberries, make cake extra appealing and given half a chance, they would find their way into everything I bake.
Then of course there is the peach vs nectarine debate…… When I was little, we didn’t know about nectarines. They weren’t on our radar at all, although apparently they were first brought to England and grown here in the 17th Century (was it warmer then?). We always had peaches, which looked beautifully pink and inviting. Whilst the flesh tasted wonderful….. sweet, soft, juicy, fruity decadence ……they were sadly covered in a tough furry skin which fluffed intrusively against the tongue, and detracted from the enjoyment of eating them.
Nectarines on the other hand seem to be nature’s clever answer to the furry skin dilemma….. they are essentially de-fuzzed peaches, with all the delightful peachy succulence and none of the frizzy irritation.
Whether you fall into the peach or nectarine camp, for me it is a no-brainer. Unless I am making something that necessarily requires the fruit to be skinned, the nectarine wins hands down, every time.
This particular upside down cake is based on a dairy-containing recipe that I have used previously here, but which has been re-jigged to substitute the butter with coconut oil and the dairy milk with almond milk. It makes for a particularly moist, slightly sticky, dense sponge which is quite creamy in texture and is absolutely delicious served warm with whipped coconut cream or dairy free custard as a full-on pudding!
The slight tartness of the raspberry off-sets the sweetness of the sponge and the richness of the coconut oil. Interestingly, when I told my husband it was also dairy free (I had made extra so that we could try a little at home too) he pulled a face like a child who has been told they have to eat greens, complaining that he ‘likes his dairy’. One mouthful later and he was converted! The coconut oil seems to give the sponge an extra depth and silkiness which is dangerously moreish and even he couldn’t resist it!
The team enjoyed it as straight cake…… cold and cut into slices with morning coffee which was also yummy, but quite sticky and I regretted not taking a handful of paper plates with me. Good job there were some leftover agendas looking for a purpose!
Nectarine Melba Upside-Down Cake (gluten & dairy free)
- Base-line a deep-sided 23 cm/9 inch cake tin with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4
- De-stone and slice your peaches/nectarines into segments
- Dot the 30g coconut oil across the surface of the baking paper in the base of the baking tin and sprinkle the brown sugar/coconut sugar across the top.
- Place in the oven for about 8 to10 minutes, stirring together about half way through the heating/melting process to blend.
- Remove from the oven and arrange the fruit in the base of the tin on top of the oil-sugar mix. Set aside. Leave the oven on.
- To make the sponge batter – weigh and mix together the flour, 15g almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
- Mix together the almond milk and vinegar in a jug and stir so that it looks like it has curdled. You have now made dairy free butter milk. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the remaining coconut oil and caster sugar with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until smooth and well-blended.
- Fold in the remaining almonds.
- Finally add the flour mix alternately with the milk mixture, about a third at a time, until well-combined, being careful not to over-mix (it should be just combined)
- Pour the batter into the cake tin over the fruit and smooth the top as evenly as possible.
- Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until the cake is golden, the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 to 15 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
- Eat warm or cold on its own or with coconut cream. Store in the fridge.