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Makes one 9-inch cake

Upside-down cakes have been a favorite of home cooks for years, ever since a machine was invented about 100 years ago to make pineapple rings (which were baked with maraschino cherries in the holes for the popular pineapple version). Almost any fruit works. Here, dried apricots, walnuts, and a lightly spiced batter make a homey dessert.

APRICOTS

cups water
5 ounces (about 1 cup) moist dried whole
apricots, cut in half to make semicircles
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
cup packed light brown sugar
cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. In a small saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the apricots, cover the pan, and remove from the heat. Let the apricots sit for 20 minutes to soften. With a slotted spoon transfer the apricots to paper towels. Set aside ½ cup of the cooking water for the cake; cool.

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2. Place the butter in a 9-inch round cake pan. Set the pan over very low heat until the butter melts. Tip the pan to spread the butter evenly. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and arrange the apricots and walnuts on top.

CAKE

1 cup flour
teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room
temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (for serving)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt to blend.

3. In an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter with the granulated and brown sugars until well blended. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture alternately with the ½ cup apricot cooking water. Spread the batter over the apricots and nuts.

4. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the cake. Hold a large plate over the pan and invert the cake onto the plate. Remove the pan. If there is any topping left in the pan, use a small spatula to transfer it onto the cake. Serve with whipped cream. Jean Kressy


Jean Kressy can be reached at jeankressy@comcast.net