Cook the Book: Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

When this Blackberry Upside-Down Cake from the Gourmet Today cookbook emerged from the oven and I inverted it out of the pan, only one thought ran through my mind--why don't I always make upside-down cakes?

They have to be some of the best cakes ever. A cinch to prepare, breathtakingly beautiful, and the perfect way to show off seasonal fruit, upside-down cakes can be your secret dessert weapon. The process is dead simple: line a pan with parchment paper to ensure that the cake will come out in one piece, fill the bottom with sugar coated berries, top it with cake batter, and bake.

About 45 minutes later the cake is done. Cool it for a bit and then the most exciting part--the dramatic inversion. Flip it onto a plate and remove the parchment to reveal the beautifully fruit-studded surface. The blackberries I used gave this cake an almost stained glass appearance, with the juices staining the cake purple-black to a light lavender color, it was gorgeous. Oh, and it tasted pretty incredible, too. Just sweet enough to be a perfect candidate for some à la mode action.

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Cook the Book: Blackberry Upside-Down Cake

About This Recipe

Yield:6

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) blackberries
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, left at room temperature for 30 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream
  • Special Equipment: an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan; parchment paper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Put a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter cake pan and line bottom with two rounds of parchment paper, then butter the top piece of parchment. Dust the pan with flour knocking off excess.

  2. 2

    Arrange blackberries in one layer in pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and shake pan to help distribute sugar.

  3. 3

    Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

  4. 4

    Beat together the butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer) at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in 3 batches, scraping down sides of the bowl between batches, until just incorporated.

  5. 5

    Spoon the batter evenly over the berries, smoothing top. Bake until top is golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes.

  6. 6

    Run a thin knife around sides of pan; invert a large plate over the pan, and, using pot holders to hold plate and pan tightly together, flip cake onto plate. Peel off parchment and serve cake with ice cream.

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