Any Fruit Upside-Down Cake



Author Notes: This is my favorite recipe to make use of seasonal produce, whether it's rhubarb in the spring, berries or stone fruit in the summer, apples and pears in the fall, or citrus in the winter. The cake is made using graham flour, so it's a little nutty and toasty and super yummy; it goes well with just about any kind of fruit. Erin McDowell

Makes: one 9-inch cake

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (or other small fruit/berries) or 4 to 5 apricots (or other large fruit), halved or sliced

For the cake:

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup graham flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cups crème fraîche
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Ready a 9-inch cake pan (springform is great, but not necessary) and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease the pan with the 3 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly in the base. Arrange the fruit in an even layer on top of the sugar.
  3. To make the cake, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the graham flour, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to combine.
  6. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer and mix to combine, then add 1/3 of the crème fraîche. Continue until all ingredients are added. Pour the batter over the fruit and spread into an even layer in the base.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake tester inserted into the cake (don’t push all the way down or you’ll get a tester full of fruit juice!) comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a spatula around the outside of the cake and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

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Reviews (34) Questions (2)

34 Reviews

Ejona V. July 26, 2016
Looks amazing :) i'm going to try it soon
 
genevieve August 28, 2015
I made this cake with whole wheat flour instead of graham and sour cream instead of crème fraiche. I had to modify cooking times and cake pan size but the result was one of the best cakes I've ever made. A cake which was dreaming of pudding, with a fantastic soft crumb. Highly recommend the adventure that is this recipe.
 
Joslyn July 27, 2015
This isn’t rock science. The volume of a regular 9”x 1 ½” round cake pan is only about 6 cups. This recipe, just for the cake, contains over 5 cups of ingredients, again, that’s without the fruit! The volume of a 9”x2 ½” springform pan is approximately 10 cups. If only using one pan, obviously the 9” springform pan is a better choice. Or double the fruit and use two 9”x1 ½” pans, dividing the cake batter evenly between the two pans.
 
Jess H. July 22, 2015
A brief follow up (with correction) to my comment of a week and a half ago: I misstated the height of my cake pans - they're 2-inch sides, not 2.5 (I use the pans sold by King Arthur Flour). Baking this in my 9-inch cake pan resulted in massive overflow, but after over an hour in the oven, what remained in the pan turned out delicious. I tried the recipe again in my 10-inch pan, and it BARELY made it; no overflow, but it would have been happier in yet a larger baking vessel. And it took about an hour to bake. Still delicious.
 
Rachbro July 22, 2015
I have this in the 9" pan in the oven now. I read the whole recipe and comments and followed the recipe to the letter. I left about a cup of batter (practically dough??) out. Good thing I've got in on another sheet pan under this cake pan because it has overflowed tremendously in my oven. I hope it works out because I'm committed to bring a dessert to my dinner hosts tonight... :/ I should have gone with my gut and used a casserole baker for this thing. Tick tock tick tock, almost 50 minutes in and still practically liquid...<br />
 
Rachbro July 22, 2015
OK, well, it came out ok, after 75 minutes, and a massive overflow, which I just trimmed off around the pan. (Good thing this is a rustic cake!) Fingers crossed it isn't dry inside. This recipe has got to be tweaked! It's too tasty and versatile for these types of problems!
 
robin D. July 20, 2015
A bundt pan would have solved my problem too. The center took much longer to cook than the recipe called for. Eventually, I cut a circle out of the center and held it in place with a plate as I flipped the cake over and out of the springform pan. I then baked the center for longer. :) I used only serviceberries, and it was delicious.
 
DebJ July 19, 2015
Planning to make this tomorrow for guests, so am hopeful for a little clarification on the sour cream substitution for creme fraiche: is it the same amount? Also, there are a few comments on the size of the pan, that a 9-inch is too small? Any thoughts? Thanks for the help.<br />1. Can sour cream be substituted for creme fraiche, and is it the same amount.<br />
 
Nancy H. July 18, 2015
Amen to recipes in weights! Yes, let's start a movement! If this recipe used weight measures it could more simply state XXX oz/grams of fruit whole if small cut up i large. Ingredients like creme fraiche or sour cream are much easier by weight!<br /><br />Also, did anyone try this with sour cream instead of creme fraiche? The price difference is about 100% so if sour cream works I would prefer it.
 
Nancy B. July 14, 2015
I made this today for my new husband, who is diabetic. I used 1/4 cup of Agave and 1 teas. molasses for the topping. I substituted 1/2 cup of Stevia for the sugar, 1/2 cup of Agave, and added a tablespoon of molasses (to simulate brown sugar) in the cake. I used sour cream rather than crème fraîche, because I thought the thickness would make up for the liquid agave. It came out great!
 
Lauren M. July 13, 2015
Erin, have you tried baking this cake with AP flour instead of graham? Just wondering if it would come out the same with those measurements!
 
AntoniaJames July 14, 2015
It should, as the weight per cup of all-purpose flour is the same as the weight per cup of graham flour. ;o)
 
Cliff A. July 13, 2015
Yes, recipes calling for ingredients by weight are *always* better— mandatory, I think, for baking.
 
AntoniaJames July 13, 2015
Food52 could take a leadership role here by not featuring (awarding any wildcard, community pick or contest win, or featuring in any column) any recipe for a baked good that is not stated in weight measures. I realize that would disqualify quite a few of my own, but I'm working on updating them! (I test three times before posting, so it takes a while for each one.) I've had more failures than successes lately with recipes here that provide volume measures only, so I'm sticking with weights from now on. ;o) <br />P.S. Actually, to clarify that: there are several contributors who seem to measure flour consistently at 125 grams or so per cup. I'll use their recipes. Also, I sometimes will reverse engineer recipes by essentially figuring out what the weight measures should be based on standard ratios (Ruhlman's book is helpful there), and proceeding that way. But when all is said and done, why should I have to?
 
Mkilfoyle July 13, 2015
I agree that this took a lot longer to bake than stated and it made a lot more batter than filled my 10" large pan. I wished I had thought to use a springform but it called for a 9" pan. I made two extra little individual ones. It easily took an hour or more to get done in the center at 350. When finally finished it was delicious and I will make again but I've learned a couple of lessons on this one.<br />
 
claire M. July 12, 2015
One last thing: I have never, not even once, had a cake bake for the time alotted in any given recipe and had it work out. I always use the time stated in any recipe as a starting point, and adjust depending on my pan, the oven, convection or not, etc. I'm not surprised baking times have been different for everyone. I've cooked professionally for 18 years, and no two ovens have ever baked the same, whether at home or at work.
 
AntoniaJames July 13, 2015
Yes, longer at a lower temperature is always a good idea for a cake with these ratios. (I'm not a professional baker, but have been baking cakes of all kinds at home since I was about 10, which was quite a long time ago - LBJ was president!) ;o)
 
claire M. July 12, 2015
This cake is awesome. I baked it in a bundt pan, not sure what size--the regular size? It also seemed to me that it was a lot of batter, but no overflow. I also baked it at 300F for 50 minutes in a convection oven. I loved it, everyone loved it, success! Also, I used 1 c sour cream, 1/3 c buttermilk, and whole wheat flour. Oh, and blueberries. I didn't bother measuring the brown sugar on the bottom, the butter for the pan, or the fruit, just eyeballed it. Fantastic.
 
AntoniaJames July 13, 2015
Thank you for posting this information. Using a bundt pan almost always solves the problem of a wet interior / failure to bake properly except with a much longer baking time, etc., as is often the case with pound cakes and cakes with fruit in them (with makes the batter so wet). An excessively long baking time results in an overcooked perimeter, which to my mind = a failed bake. ;o) <br />
 
Nancy H. July 18, 2015
Thanks, claire, hadn't seen your comment on sour cream v. creme fraiche.
 
Renee July 12, 2015
I finally took it out of the oven after 60 minutes. It has now sunk in the center, so if should have been baked even longer. I would say 65 minutes.
 
AntoniaJames July 13, 2015
Renee, I am so sorry to hear that. I had the same problem with another cake involving fresh fruit posted by another editor of this site earlier this year. Your flour quantities could be off, given how much guesswork and luck are always at play when volume measurements only are given. <br />As I mentioned in response to another comment, you can't go wrong using a bundt or angel food pan (well greased) when fresh fruit is involved, or you're baking a rich cake such as a pound cake. ;o)
 
Sara S. July 12, 2015
Oops, sorry, Antonia, I mean Antonia, not Andrea
 
Sara S. July 12, 2015
I agree with Andrea. This looks good, but too messy to use cups when weights measurements are so much easier with increased accuracy a bonus.
 
AntoniaJames July 13, 2015
Sara S, I'm going to use some of the good ideas in this recipe to adapt my pear filled cowboy coffee cake https://food52.com/recipes/14393-pear-filled-cowboy-coffee-cake into an any-fruit upside down cake using weight measures. I did some back-of-the-envelope (literally) calculations over the weekend for the conversion: https://instagram.com/p/5C4VKZmBy2/?taken-by=howmothercooks I posted the original recipe in volume measures, but cannot edit the recipe because it was selected as a contest finalist. I hope to test the upside down cake version with both nectarines and blueberries, as well as a combination of the two. I test at least three times before posting so it will be a while before I actually get the new recipe up on this site. ;o)
 
Renee July 12, 2015
I am in the process of baking this cake right now. I am baking in a springform pan. I used apricots and whole wheat flour. I also substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche. It has now baked for 50 minutes and the center is still not done. I am an experienced baker and use a thermometer in my oven to make sure it is calibrated correctly. Will post later how long this actually needs to bake.
 
foodventure July 12, 2015
Appropriate substitutes for creme fraiche? Its just not available here.
 
Author Comment
Erin M. July 13, 2015
You can use sour cream instead!
 
Jess H. July 12, 2015
I'm just in the process of making this--in a 9-inch cake pan with 2.5 inch sides; a single layer of blueberries on the bottom. At 35 minutes in the oven, the cake has overflowed the pan almost all the way around. Luckily, I'd put it on a sheet pan in the oven even though I wasn't using a springform (it seemed like a lot for the pan from the outset), so it didn't make a mess all over the oven. But I think the quantity of batter is just too much for a regular 9-inch cake pan.