I’ve genuinely had a craving for an upside-down cake for months now but lacked the inspiration (and time) to actually get the cake tins out of the cupboard and bake one. It was something to do with eating pineapples towards the end of pregnancy to bring on labour (it didn’t work) and me obviously associating that with cake that bought on the craving. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I found a big punnet of apricots from the market hidden at the back of the fridge that needed eating. And what does one do with a punnet of apricots…
Apricot Upside-Down Cake
For the apricots
50g (1 ¾oz) butter, plus more for the tin
125g (4 ½oz) golden caster sugar
7–8 fresh apricots (not too ripe) halved and stoned
1 tbsp runny honey
For the cake
150g (5 ½oz) unsalted butter
150g (5 ½oz) golden caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
200g (3 ½oz) plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla powder
125ml (4fl oz) full-fat milk
Butter a 20–23cm (8–9in) cake tin and prepare the apricots. Put the sugar and 75ml (2 ½fl oz) water into a small saucepan. Heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. When the sugar has completely melted bring to the boil and watch until the syrup starts to turn to caramel (it will turn golden first). Swish the pan a bit. Once it becomes caramel (you will know by the smell and colour) take immediately off the heat and add the butter. Stir once the butter has melted. Pour into the tin and place the apricots, close together and cut-side-down, on top. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition (add a couple of spoonfuls of flour to the mixture if it starts to curdle). Sift together the flour and baking powder and stir in the almonds. Add the vanilla, then the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Spoon this batter over the apricots and bake for 50 minutes. When the cake is cooked, a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Run a fine knife between the cake and the tin and invert on to a plate. If some apricots have stuck to the tin, carefully replace them on the cake.
Gently heat the honey. Using a pastry brush or spoon, glaze the top of the cake letting it run down the sides. I found this cake was its most delicious when eaten still slightly warm form the oven and served with crème fraîche or plain yoghurt.
This recipe is slightly adapted from Diana Henry (whose latest book “How to Eat a Peach” is top of my wish list at the moment, should anyone of gift buying status happen to be reading this…)