Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Easy Perfect Holiday Dessert

Ok...so last week I blogged about a certain pineapple upside-down cake debacle, and the recipe is from the above book by the brilliant Thomas Keller. The beauty of this recipe is that it is really simple and you can use any fruit in it. After making ten of these cakes with fig, I can assure you it works perfectly and makes for a really lovely seasonal dessert. Way easier than making a pie...way easier. So, here it is. The dessert you should make for your friends and family come Thursday. No thanks necessary! The only thing you need that you may not have, but should have anyway so it is a good excuse to buy one is a 9 inch silicone cake pan.

Fig Upside-Down Cake
/ Variation of Thomas Keller's Pinapple Upside-Down Cake


For the pan shmear: (which you can make days before you bake the cake)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark rum
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste/vanilla extract
  • kosher salt
  • 6 Figs
For the cake batter
  • 1 1/3cupscake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoonvanilla paste/vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, combine butter honey, rum, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended.
  • Spread 1/3 cup of shmear over the bottom of the cake pan. (you will have leftover smear that you can freeze and use again for the next holiday feast day)
  • Sprinkle the shmear with salt.
  • Cut 4 figs in half and then place around the edge of the cake pan face down with the tops of the figs facing inwards.
  • Cut 2 figs into quarters and place a quarter slice of fig at the top of each half slice, making a sort of flower in the center of the cake.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes until light and creamy, scrapping down the sides as necessary.
  • Beat in the milk. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the pan and spread over the figs. Bake for 15 minutes then rotate the pan for even browning and bake for anohter 20 to 25 minutes until a wooden skewer or knife comes out clean.
  • Run a butter knife around the edges of the cake, put a plate over the top of it and flip it over onto the plate.
Ta Da! A delicious little cake perfect for any occasion. This is an easy cake to dry out by over baking, so I would check it early and if there is a few crumbs on the knife pull it out. Have a Great Thanksgiving Everyone! If you make this cake let me know how it worked out!


The Blushing Hostess said...

I am a disaster with upside downs. Crikey, I can barely figure out the right-side-up stuff but I am willing to try again because you guys are worth cussing over the cast iron pan for any day.

EcoCulinaire said...

This is such a breeze and no cast iron necessary! The only thing is that I found the Keller cake batter recipe to be a little dry, so perhaps pull the cake out a little early or use another yellow cake batter recipe that know to be sure fire. Congrats to moving out of this bizzaro region of the country! Chef and I are actually toying with a move to DC...where another restaurant opportunity awaits! Take Care!