Upside-Down Date Cake With Marmalade
The upside-down cake never goes out of style — and it can be revived again and again by exploring different flavor combinations. This one tops a medjool-date studded cake with a vibrant kumquat marmalade and a Cognac mascarpone. It can be served warm for dessert, or at room temperature for a casual afternoon treat. Any leftover marmalade can be stored in the fridge and will breathe new life into your morning toast.
- Serves: 8 persons
- ¾pound/350 grams kumquats or tangerines
- 3whole star anise
- 2cinnamon sticks
- ¼teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 ½cups/300 grams granulated sugar (caster sugar)
- 3tablespoons lemon juice
- 2tablespoons orange juice
- 1tablespoon Cognac
- ¾cup/170 grams unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 ⅓cup/175 grams all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- ½cup/50 grams almond flour (ground almonds)
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 2teaspoons ground star anise
- ½teaspoon salt
- ¾cup plus 2 tablespoons/170 grams Demerara sugar
- 3large eggs
- 8ounces/225 grams medjool dates, pitted and chopped into 1/2-inch/1-centimeter pieces
- ⅓cup/70 milliliters whole milk, at room temperature
- 8ounces/250 grams mascarpone
- 1cup/250 milliliters heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- 3tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
- 1tablespoon Cognac
Step 1Prepare the marmalade: Trim and discard the ends of the kumquats, slice the kumquats into 1/8-inch/1/4-centimeter rounds and discard the seeds (pips). If using tangerines, quarter them lengthwise then cut them into 1/8-inch/1/4-centimeter-thick slices. Transfer the fruit and the star anise, cinnamon, vanilla and 2 cups/450 milliliters water to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the fruit has softened, about 10 minutes.
Step 2Add the sugar and lemon juice and cook, stirring often, until the marmalade darkens and has a loose, jam-like consistency, adjusting the temperature as necessary to maintain a rapid bubble, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the juiciness of your fruit. (You don’t want to overcook the marmalade, as it will continue to thicken as it cools.)
Step 3Remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice and Cognac. Let cool at least 1 hour. (We like the look and flavor of the star anise and cinnamon sticks, but feel free to remove them at this point, if you like.)
Step 4Prepare the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/160 degrees Celsius. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch/20-centimeter springform cake pan (cake tin) and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Measure out 1/4 cup marmalade and set aside. Spoon 1 cup/250 grams marmalade into the pan, leaving a 3/4-inch/2-centimeter border around the edges.
Step 5Sift together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, ground star anise and salt and set aside. Place the 3/4 cup/170 grams butter and the Demerara sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Step 6Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one by one, scraping down the bowl as needed, until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the dates and mix for 30 seconds on medium speed. On low speed, add the flour mixture, followed by the milk and mix until well combined, about 30 seconds more.
Step 7Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, starting around the perimeter of the pan to keep the marmalade in place, then smooth the surface into an even layer. Transfer the pan onto a baking sheet (tray). Bake until the cake springs back to a light touch in the center or a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes, rotating the cake halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 8Prepare the Cognac mascarpone: Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on medium-high speed until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes.
Step 9Carefully release the sides of the cake pan and invert a serving plate over the top of the pan. Flip the whole thing over and carefully remove the paper.
Step 10Gently warm the reserved 1/4 cup marmalade and spoon evenly over the top of the cake. Slice with a sharp knife and serve warm, with the Cognac mascarpone alongside.