Berry Upside-Down Cake
You can use any kind of berries — fresh or frozen — for this jammy twist on the classic pineapple upside-down cake. Just note that adding all or mostly blueberries and strawberries will create a sweeter topping than mixing in more acidic blackberries and raspberries. Caramelizing the brown sugar in a skillet before adding the fruit gives you a particularly deep, complex flavor. Because of the moisture in the topping, you’ll need to bake this cake a little longer than other, similar butter cakes. You want the surface to be well browned all over, with dark brown edges that yield a slight crunch. Underbaked cake will be soggy, and apt to fall apart.
- Serves: 1 person
- 4tablespoons/56 grams unsalted butter
- ⅓cup/71 grams light brown sugar
- 1tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (see Tip)
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (about 1 pound), quarter the strawberries, if using
- ½cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing
- 1cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2large eggs, at room temperature
- ½cup/118 milliliters sour cream or plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 ½teaspoons baking powder
- ¾teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½cups/195 grams all-purpose flour
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2Make the topping: In an oven-safe 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, lemon juice and salt, and whisk until the brown sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 3Let cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to smell like caramel and darkens slightly, about 1 minute longer. (Don’t walk away or the mixture may burn.) The mixture will clump and separate, but that’s OK.
Step 4Add fruit, gently tossing to coat with the caramel. Remove from heat and arrange fruit into an even layer on bottom of skillet. Ignore any sugar clumps; they will dissolve during baking.
Step 5Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add sour cream and whisk until well mixed. Sprinkle in baking powder, salt and baking soda into the batter, one at a time, and whisking vigorously after each addition.
Step 6Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour until just incorporated. The mixture will be lumpy, but that’s OK. Don’t overmix. Scrape batter into the skillet over the fruit and spread evenly.
Step 7Bake until the surface is deeply browned all over (with darker brown edges) and the fruit is lightly bubbling along the sides of the skillet, about 35 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through. A toothpick inserted into cake will come out clean.
Step 8Once the cake is out of the oven, immediately run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edge of the skillet. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to cool slightly. Carefully invert cake into serving platter. If some berries stick to bottom of skillet, gently remove using offset spatula or knife and place back onto cake. Let cake cool until the fruit topping sets, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour, before serving. Cake is best served on the day it is baked.