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Friday, September 20, 2013

There is more to upside down cakes than pineapple — plus a freaky carrot!

Funny how some foods become traditional in odd places. For some reason, pineapple upside down cake is very popular in New Mexico. Folks serve it at their parties right along with Tres leches and biscochitos. The great thing about an upside down cake is the juices and sugar run into the cake and keep it gooey and moist. So I thought I would post two great — and slightly unusual — upside down cakes for your enjoyment. A polenta and orange upside down cake with definite Spanish roots and a chocolate banana upside down cake from David Leibowitz. And don't forget there is a great rhubarb upside down cake (originally published in Gourmet magazine) in the site archives.

Orange Polenta Cake

Ingredients for cake
1/2 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 navel oranges
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange-flower water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups ground almonds (7 oz)
2/3 cup quick-cooking polenta

Ingredients for glaze
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9-inch round cake pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper and side with a strip of parchment. This is very important because if you don't do this you will never get the cake out of the pan! Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until dark amber. Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until incorporated, then carefully but quickly pour caramel into cake pan, tilting it to coat evenly. Grate zest from oranges and reserve for cake. Cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Remove any seeds and arrange slices in 1 layer over caramel.

To make cake, beat butter with sugar using an electric mixer until just combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in orange-flower water and reserved zest. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer at low speed, mix almonds, polenta, and flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined. Spread batter evenly over oranges (preferably with an offset spatula). Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a cake plate and discard parchment. Be careful as hot syrup might leak out. Next, it's time to glaze the cake. Heat marmalade with water in a small saucepan until melted. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Brush top of cake with some of glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature with some whipped cream or homemade salted caramel ice cream. I can dream can't I?

Chocolate Banana Upside Down Cake

Ingredients for the topping
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons room temperature butter, cubed
3 to 4 ripe medium bananas
a few drops of lemon juice

Ingredients for the cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter, salted or unsalted
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 cup banana puree (about 2 bananas)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

To make the topping, place the brown sugar and butter in an 8-inch square cake pan. Warm the pan directly on the stovetop over low heat, stirring until the sugar is thoroughly moistened. Stir just until the sugar is moist and bubbling, then remove from heat. There might be some empty spots, that's okay. Let cool to room temperature. Peel and slice the bananas in 1/4-inch slices. Arrange them in slightly overlapping rows over the melted brown sugar. Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice to stop them from browning.

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon making sure there are no lumps. Mix in the granulated sugar. In a separate small bowl, mix together the butter, egg, egg white, banana puree, sour cream, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until almost combined. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the chocolate pieces. Scrape the batter into the pan over the bananas, then use an offset spatula to carefully spread the batter over the sliced fruit. Be gentle! Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake feels just set in the center when you touch it. Cool the cake for about 20 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the cake to help it release from the pan. Invert the cake onto a serving platter. My ice cream of choice with this cake: butter pecan.

And now for something completely different! Here is a photo of the biggest carrot I have ever found in a 50 pound bag of carrots. Do you think the fact that I live near Los Alamos has anything to do with this?

What's the largest vegetable you've ever seen? And did you make an upside-down cake with it?

1 comment :

monica said...

I think that carrot should be registered as a deadly weapon.

Is there such a thing as upside-down carrot cake?