Upside-down baking is irresistable to me, whether it’s in the form of a tarte tatin or a cake. The common denominator is a gorgeous, gooey caramelized bottom, which, once inverted, becomes the top. Nestled in the sticky caramel goodness are chunks of seasonal fruit, which release their juice and perfume the pastry, while studding the topping like jewels in a crown.
The other winning quality of upside-down desserts is that they are generously flexible with the seasons. In the fall, pears and apples are the fruit of choice. In the summer, stone fruit, figs and berries display their wonders. Mix and match to your taste. It’s impossible to go wrong.
Fig and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake
Semolina adds a beautiful golden hue and a little crumble to the cake. Serves 10-12
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1 cup light brown sugar
8 large figs, halved lengthwise
3 ounces raspberries
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup semolina
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 F. (170 C.) Butter a 9 inch springform pan. Line bottom with parchment and butter the parchment. Tightly wrap the bottom of the pan with foil.
Melt 1/2 cup butter and light brown sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking to combine. Pour into the springform pan. Arrange the figs, cut side down in a circular pattern in the sugar. Fill in the gaps with the raspberries.
Beat 1 cup butter and granulated sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in buttermilk, zest and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to the batter, mixing just to combine. Pour over the fruit and smooth with a spatula. Bake in oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and cool 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.