Everything is better with cake! At least in my world it is. It had to be a cake to ring in the new year. Upside down cakes, with apples and pears have been my recent obsession. With a jar of mandarins in the fridge, apples in the basket and a holiday around the corner, baking them into a dessert to be shared with friends was the most sound solution. As I said, cakes are my favourite!
Here’s hoping you and yours had a good time on New Year’s eve and wherever in the world you were, the weather did not play dampener. Luckily for us the snow was on hold, though the chill wasn’t and with a holiday in the start of the year, 2015 could not have begun on a better note.
Without further delay, presenting upside down Mandarin-Apple cake.
Cooking time: 1 hour. Active: 25 minutes, Prep Time: 15-20 minutes.
2-3 medium apples, peeled, de-seeded and chopped,
1 bottle of mandarin slices,
Juice from half a lemon,
4 tbsp honey,
1 inch stick of cinnamon,
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder,
1 cup water,
3-4 tbsp sugar.
For the batter:
2 1/4 cups flour; mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour,
1/2 cup oil/ cold unsalted butter,
1 1/2 cups sugar,
1 tsp vanilla essence,
2 1/2 tsp baking powder,
1 tsp salt,
1 cup and 2 tbsp milk.
The recipe for the cake is the same as the two egg cake recipe. This is a standard recipe that can be used to make a variety of cakes.
1 cup of sugar,
1 tsp lemon juice.
To get started first clean and cut the fruit, in this case I only needed to prepare apples since I had preserved mandarin slices. Keep aside about half an apple sliced for the final presentation of the cake. Similarly keep a batch of mandarin slices too. The rest can go into the stew.
Put the fruit in a pan along with the spices and a cup of water, honey and sugar. Stew them until you can mash the fruit slices with the back of the spoon with a gentle push. This stew will need to cool down before it can be mixed into the batter. When in a hurry stick the pan in the fridge or better still for about 10 minutes in the freezer.
Next preheat the oven on at 375 degrees while you prepare the batter. The batter is pretty straightforward.
Step 1: Take two mixing bowls, one for sifting flour and dry ingredients and the other for mixing the wet and dry constituents together.
Step 2: In the larger mixing bowl; first measure the oil, when using oil. Then add sugar and beat them.
Step 3: To the buttered sugar add the eggs, one at a time, beating each before the other follows. By now the mix will be a deep yellow due to the yolks.
Step 4: Now is the time we need to bring the dry and wet together. Start by adding a spoonful of the flour mix to the egg and oil. Followed by milk. Beat. Continue in the same order. About halfway through with the flour and milk, add the fruits. Mix in well, more like fold in and then finish off with the remaining flour and milk. In order to make sure the consistency of the batter doesn’t get too watery, you can cut back on the milk. This is a bit tricky, but if you’ve baked a cake or two, you know what I am talking about.
Step 5: Finally, its time to bake! But before we do that, time to lay out a few slices of apple and mandarin at the base for the upside down part of the cake.
Step 6: Caramelize sugar to pour over the sliced fruit. Caramelization is the simplest thing to do, put sugar in a clean pan and heat it up. As it heats the sugar will, slowly at first, liquidize and then very rapidly turn a warm, brown colour. Don’t get it too far down that path, otherwise it will give off a charred flavour. Caramelized sugar needs to be poured warm, as soon as it hits anything cool, even air, it stiffens and crystallizes back.
Step 7: Finally, pour in the prepared batter and put the pan into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes. Check around the 20 minute mark by inserting a clean knife, toothpick or a skewer to check for the doneness of the cake. If the instrument comes out wet or has batter stuck at its tip then the cake needs to sit in for a few more minutes.
I baked the cake in a cast iron pan and it came out thus.
Once cool, turn this upside down and see the result.
Enjoy a slice before anyone else, I would 🙂