Farmer’s Table: Blueberry Upside-down Cake
Baking a cake “upside down” is an old technique. Centuries ago, cakes were baked in cast iron skillets and were often referred to as “skillet cakes.” Fruit and sugar were placed in the bottom of the pan and the batter was poured on top. After baking, the cake was inverted onto a plate revealing a juicy caramelized fruit topping.
Most people are familiar with Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Pineapple rings are placed in the bottom of a pan with butter and brown sugar, and maraschino cherries are inserted into the middle of the rings.
Upside-down cakes are not limited to pineapple. I’ve made them with apples, pears and peaches. Plums, strawberries, cranberries and apricots could also be used. A combination of fruit, such as peaches and blueberries would yield delicious results.
Several months ago, a friend posted a photo of a blueberry upside-down cake on Facebook. I still had plenty of frozen blueberries from last season, so I decided to try this modern take on a dessert classic. It was so good, I made the recipe twice.
I have since learned that Blueberry Upside-Down Cake and its many variations are called Gateau aux Bleuets or Pouding aux Bleuets, in Quebec, where it is a very popular dessert.
Taken warm from the oven and turned upside-down, this recipe becomes a delicious pudding to serve with whipped cream. Left in the pan to cool, it becomes a cake. If you like a pleasant spiciness, add the cinnamon.
The first blueberries of the season are beginning to ripen. To retain the fresh taste of the fruit, you can omit cinnamon for a plain white cake.
Blueberry Upside-Down Cake
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups blueberries (fresh or Frozen)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3/4 cup milk, at room temperature*
In 9 inch square cake pan, combine melted butter and brown sugar. Spread evenly on the bottom. Spread blueberries evenly over top of the butter/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating until light.
Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift or mix together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon if using. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Spread batter evenly over blueberry layer.
Bake in 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, and then turn out onto a large flat plate. Do not wait longer, because the fruit will stick. Be very careful, because the fruit and juices will be very hot and can burn.
I place a heatproof plate over the cake pan, and, using hot pads, quickly invert the cake in one swift motion. Carefully remove the cake pan, because there will be hot steam coming form the fruit.
*It is important to use milk at room temperature to keep the butter from curdling. This will produce a fluffier cake.
For questions about recipes or other information, contact Susan Maslowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to our websites at metrokanawha.com and putnamreview.com. Susan also has a Farmer’s Table Facebook page.