Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cooking Chronicles: Brown-Butter Fruit Cake

Summertime brings gorgeous fruit.  
I have difficulty justifying baking or cooking with fruit because now is the best time to eat it, raw and whole.  However, last summer I found this recipe on the blog Eat, Live, Run for a brown butter plum upside down cake-- and it has since changed my perception of baked fruit desserts.  The brown butter makes all the difference here because it adds a nutty, rich taste to the more sour fruit.

Two mixing bowls / non-stick saute pan / cake mixer or electric beater / spatula / 9" round cake pan / oven @350 deg. F / a fancy apron (optional)

2 pounds of firm plums, or peaches!  This would be 5-7, depending on how you slice and how many layers of fruit you want.  As you can see, I used both and the effect was gorgeous and added varying tastes to the cake.  

1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup of milk
3/4 cup of granulated white sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
    *(room temperature ingredients make for better cakes!)
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1. Cut peaches and plums into 1/4" slices.
2. Melt a 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) of butter into saute pan on low heat (very important, otherwise the butter will burn), stirring occasionally.  First it will separate and clarify, then foam, then gradually turn brown -- the darker the brown, the nuttier and more rich the taste.  This should take 5-10 minutes.
3.  Once the butter is browned, stir in the 3/4 cup of brown sugar and cook for another 3 minutes.
4. Pour into a round cake pan, then arrange the fruit slices in a layered, circular pattern.
5. In one bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
6. In another bowl, cream the remaining stick of butter and 3/4 cup of white sugar.
7.  Add eggs one by one, then vanilla.
8.   Fold  in dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, beating until fluffy.
9. Spread batter onto the fruit, then baking for 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden brown.
10.  Let the cake cool for a few minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the cake, and if you want, flip it onto a serving platter and enjoy!  It's incredible with vanilla ice cream and a semi-dry white wine (heh).

There is nothing like homemade cake with seasonal fruit.  I've followed this recipe exactly, but I think next time I'm going to try to substitute oils and apple sauce, reduce and sugar a bit and hopefully make a cake that's less heart-stopping yet equally delicious.  If anyone happens to try themselves, please let me know how it goes.  Man, have I missed baking!

Listening: "Jump in the Line" by Henry Belafonte

1 comment:

Allison said...

Ohhh my god, this is perfection. I am close to drooling right now over your gorgeous photography, and I'm filing this post away so that I can make this soon!