Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baker's Corner: Caramel Peach Upside Down Cake

This is a story of a beginner's tryst with baking...

I love baking (not that I've done much of it but just I love everything about it!). I guess I can call myself an aspiring baker. I have no problem with following recipes from a book as long as I'm confident that the outcome is worth it. Baking invariably involves measuring out ingredients, following precise instructions and techniques and fortunately for me, that is something I've never had an issue with. Although I can be incredibly impatient in general (patience is not one of my virtues), this is one area where I prove myself wrong! I used to bake a few simple cakes and apple pie as a teenager and my efforts were always highly appreciated. After I got married, I decided that I would spend more time learning different recipes and perfecting the art of baking. But I was never able to broaden my baking repertoire as over the years, I somehow ended up in homes with non-functional ovens. How is that for bad luck? And with my crazy busy schedule, I didn't have the time, inclination or the patience (what did I tell u?) to get them repaired. On a few occasions, I did bake chocolate cake using a microwave and they did turn out pretty decent but I was always dejected that I couldn't use a classic built-in oven. So, when I became a first time homeowner, I knew for sure that my kitchen was going to have a fabulous oven

So, I finally got the oven of my dreams (Bosch HBN331E0B) and I was mulling over what to bake for the first time. Some time ago, I had seen a cake recipe in a blog 'Look Who's Cooking Too' and the image of that particular cake had stayed with me. It was the recipe for a Caramel Pear Upside Down Cake and it looked absolutely divine. I bookmarked the recipe and decided that this was what I would make for my baking debut. Although the recipe calls for canned pears, I couldn't find any in the grocery store so being a peach-lover I picked up a can of peaches. I found the recipe simple and straightforward and the baking progressed uneventfully. I should have gone a step further with caramelizing the brown sugar but what the heck....the cake turned out pretty great that I was grinning from ear to ear by the end of it! Now that I'm pumped with the success of this cake, I know that my baking journey will take off without any hiccups. If you are a baking enthusiast who didn't really get the opportunity to get started, you just HAVE to try this recipe. It is a decadent pleasure that is simple, easy to make and really good!

Here is the picture from a subsequent attempt where you can clearly see that I've gotten much better! hahaha I was able to find canned pears and learning from past mistakes, I caramelized the sugar to the extent that it is supposed to be caramelized! So, please keep this one in mind as a visual reference


Here is the recipe with a few very minor changes from the original.....enjoy!

Caramel Peach Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 20 - 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 - 55 minutes
Serves: 4-5 
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Recipe Source: Look Who's Cooking Too

Ingredients:

For the Caramel Topping:
½ cup Dark Brown Sugar
¼ cup Unsalted Butter
150 gms Canned Peaches, drained and thinly sliced 

For the Cake:
1 cup Plain Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
A pinch of Salt
1 cup Granulated sugar
3 Medium-size Eggs
½ cup Plain Yoghurt (I used Nestle plain yoghurt)
¼ tsp Vanilla Extract
½ cup Flavourless Oil such as Vegetable Oil

Method:

For the Caramel Topping:
  1. Butter and line a 9-inch cake pan (I used a glass baking dish so I only greased it) and arrange the peaches slices in a circle at the bottom of the pan, starting from the outer edge. Keep aside.
  2. Place a saucepan over medium low heat and melt the sugar and butter.
  3. Once the mix begins to bubble and caramelize (it will start to look frothy and turn a darker shade of brown), swirl the pan and if required stir using a spatula and take it off the flame.
  4. Gently pour it over the peach slices, making sure you don’t disturb the pattern. Keep aside.

For the Cake batter:
  1. Centre a rack (Level 2) in the oven and preheat it to 175 deg C.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  3. Into a separate large mixing bowl, add in the sugar, eggs, yoghurt and vanilla extract and using an electric beater or whisk beat it all together till well combined.
  4. Still whisking, add the dry ingredients bit by bit, making sure there are no lumps of flour.
  5. Finally, pour the oil into the mixture and using a spatula fold it in. Don’t mix it too vigorously.
  6. Pour the cake batter gently on top of the peach slices till about 3/4th full and even it out a bit, if required
  7. Bake at 175 deg C for about 50 - 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Take it out of the oven and let it stay on a wire rack for about 5 minutes after which you can use a blunt knife to first run it around the edge of the pan to slightly release the cake and then invert carefully onto a serving plate.
  9. If you have used parchment paper, peel it off carefully, slice into wedges and serve as it is or with whipped cream.
Notes:
  • You can try this recipe with other fruits such as apricots, pears, pineapples, mangoes and plums. You can also use fresh fruits instead of canned ones.
  • Using a glass oven-safe dish to make the cake is a good idea as there is no issue of the cake sticking to the dish (I hadn't even lined the dish and it glided out like a ballerina!). 

Cheers,


2 comments:

  1. Hey this recipy looks delicious..I have never tried baking again after I had a "bad" eperience with it years ago but I must say that the way u have introduced this recipy makes it very welcoming!!!Good job Megha.Keep posting more..I am going to try this recipy right away.

    ReplyDelete

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