Upside-down baking is irresistible. Whether it's in the form of a cake or a tarte tatin (a rustic French fruit tart), the common denominator is a gorgeous, gooey caramelized bottom, which, once inverted, becomes the top of the cake or tart. Nestled in the sticky caramelized goodness are hunks of seasonal fruit, which release their juices to mingle with the butter and sugar topping and seep into the pastry while it bakes. When finished, the entire confection is flipped, bottom-side up, revealing its fruit-studded top like jewels in a crown.
The other winning quality of upside-down desserts is that they are generously flexible with the seasons. In the fall, pears and apples are the fruit of choice. In the summer, stone fruit and berries display their wonders. Mix and match to your taste. It's impossible to go wrong. I had fun with this cake, letting the contents of my fruit bowl dictate the topping. While figs and raspberries may sound like an unlikely combination, they are a perfect bridge between summer and autumn fruit, and nicely complement each other, with the tart and juicy berries jazzing up the sticky-sweet and sultry figs.
Full disclosure: I've made this cake with only raspberries, as well as only figs -- and it's all good. Like I said: Upside-down baking is flexible (and delicious).
Raspberry, Fig and Almond Upside-Down Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Yield: makes 8 to 10 servings
1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
8 large figs, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Tightly wrap the bottom of the pan with foil.
Melt the 1/2 cup butter and the light brown sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, whisking to combine. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and spread it evenly. Arrange the figs, cut-side down, in a circular pattern in the sugar-butter mixture and place the raspberries in the gaps.
Cream the 3/4 cup butter and the sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk the sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla and almond extract in the batter. Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the batter, mixing just to combine.
Pour the batter over the fruit and smooth it with a spatula. Transfer to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then release the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto a plate. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.
CAPTIONS AND CREDITS
Caption 01: Photo by Lynda Balslev for TasteFood.