Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nectarine Strusel Upside Down Cake

What would you do if you cannot sleep at night? watching TV? reading?

Last week, I read a cook book at 10 pm. And as usual, instead of putting me back to sleeping mode, it woke me up. I wanted to strap on apron right after I read through the paragraph how streusel was baked. My CPU inside my head started to revolve at 65536 rounds per second. I bet, if there is 24-7 supermarket opened, I would have run out to buy 4 nectarines and eggs which I used up a few days ago.

The cake, baked with 10-inch pan, is big enough to serve 10 people i.e. one piece for each. But if your guests are sweet-toothers, you may need to sacrifice your portion. The cake is meant to be basin-liked, slope towards the center, which is how nectarines were arranged. The surface was pretty with the nactarin pattern, browned by butter and sugar. It was nice...just nice. I know if this is put for sale it may not look very attractive, but as I made this out of scratch, some how I managed to see it as a a rustic beauty.

The recipe also allows apples or bananas if nectarines are not available in your area or if they are not in the season. I love nectarines though. Their sourness goes really well with the cake. The streusels in the center are chewy and crumble. My only complain to this is that I prefer thicker cake batter layers.

I suggest you to bake streusel first as it needs to be cooled down completely before use.

Below is streusel recipe. I actually “doubled” these up as you can see thick streusel in my photos. You may stick to the original portion and see if you like it.

1/4 cup of almonds, chopped
1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon1 tsp of ginger
1/2 stick (2 oz) of unsalted butter , cut into small pieces
1/2 cups of rolled oats (not instant)

Turn oven to 350 F. Toast chopped almond until golden brown. Mix flour and cubed butter with forks until resembles crumbs. Add brown sugar, nuts , cinnamon and ginger, toss a few times to mix in. Spread unbaked streusel onto the largest tray so that it won’t pile up and is cooked through easily.

Bake the streusel for 10-15 min 350 F stirring into piece after it slightly cool down


1/2 stick (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3-4 ripe medium nectarines , each cut into 8 pieces

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

Pour melted butter over bottom of 10-inch pan wrapped with foil at the bottom (to prevent leaks). Sprinkle brown sugar evenly and arrange nectarines as shown in the photo. You can arrange clockwise and the other row as counter clockwise. Set this aside and prepare the cake.

The sponge:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt (or 1/8 tsp of table salt, don't even think about omitting this tiny portion)
4 egg yolks
6 egg-whites
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice

Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda together

Beat half of sugar, salt and yolks until pale and creamy, then whisk in vegetable oil and lemon juice (I actually replaced with concentrated orange juice and cut down sugar by ¼ cup). Do it gently but quickly until no oil streaks left. Don’t worry if the batter deflates. The recipe actually instruct to mix in 1 cup of flour into the yolk mixture but I think that would dense the batter so I fold in only 1/3 cup of flour then I turned to beat egg whites.

Beat egg white until fluffy, add a 2-3 table spoons of sugar, and continue beating. Gradually add sugar as you whisk. The whites should form light-foamy stiff/ shiny peak when it is ready to use. I whisked by hand and it took around 8 minutes.

Add 1/3 of egg white mixture into yolk mixtures; fold from the bottom of the blow with spatula quickly but gently. Do this in different directions such that you flip the batter up from left and next you fold and flip it up from the right. After adding the whites, batter will be runnier and ready for more flour. Fold in 1/3 cup of flour. Alternate between flour and egg whites in 3 batches until both ingredients are used up. Ensure there are no lumps left.

Pour half of batter onto arranged nectarine. Use spatula to spread out to cover fruit base. Sprinkle streusel evenly to make layers. Pour the rest of batter on top of streusel. Use spatula to spread evenly. I was tempted to cover up all the fruit so I mistakenly over poured the first batch and I almost had too little on the top to cover streusel. Don’t make the same mistake as I did.

Bake at 350 F, for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cake browned quickly during the first 15 minutes (I wondered !!!), so I covered with waxed paper. It didn't help much and was and burning. Oh my gosh, I was devastated. I put a disc from removable pie pan onto the wax paper. Fortunately, at that time the cake was firm enough to hold the metal disc. And of course it stopped browning. phew...w..w..w.

Once done, be sure not to flip the pan right after or the topping will slide down. Let it set in the pan until warm to touch or until completely cool. The cake will shrink from the sides. I flipped it over when it was still warm. I was excited as I am always nervous when cooking with fresh fruits. What a pretty surface it had, I murmured to myself.

I leave the cake on the counter top for a few hours and it dries out a little. So, I put gelatin glace on it.

1 tsp of gelatin plus 30 g of cold water, let it blooms for 5-10 minutes.
30 g hot water, not boiling.

I let gelatin blooms in cold water then added hot water, stir well. Let it sit over the counter (room temp was around 15 C). When it started to form up as half jelly half liquid, with rubber brush, touch up nectarine surface. Let it cool in the fridge before slice.

The cake is best served the first 2 days it is made. Of course, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream (imagine me running to the near-by Häagen-Dazs) The streusel filling was scrumptious. I will definitely make this again ! (soon!)

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