Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Cake Slice: Orange-Almond-Caramel Upside-Down Cake
I have been seriously remiss in my blogging lately. First, I started a new job that seemed to occupy all of my time, then in February and March I found myself increasingly exhausted with very little motivation to cook. Well, I found out that the reason i was so tired is because I am pregnant! I am four months along now and finally getting the energy to do more cooking, though it is still harder to find things that I really want to eat (besides bagels with melted cheese, yum!).
Despite the fact that I haven't posted a Cake Slice cake since January, I actually did bake both the February and March cakes. February's Coffee-Heath Bar Crunch Cake was not bad, but I thought that the coffee flavor was a bit too strong and it was just not a cake to write home (or write a post) about. I didn't have the Dutch process cocoa for March's Chocolate Cream Pound Cake, so I substituted regular cocoa but forgot to adjust the leavening (oops). The cake rose and collapsed, then fell to pieces when I tried to take it out of the pan. In spite of the horrendous appearance, the cake was delicious, like a rich and fudgy brownie.
This month's cake, an Orange-Almond-Caramel Upside-Down Cake was much more attractive, and it was quite tasty, too. I was a bit wary of the flavor combination, but it all went together well. The orange-scented cake was moist and light, and the toasted almonds and caramel added a sweet and crisp cap. If I were to make this cake again I might decrease or omit the honey from the topping, because I did find the flavor unnecessary (and a bit distracting, perhaps). In fact, I might try making this cake without the almond topping, and just add a quick orange glaze. That would push it into the realm of the "everyday cake." A cake like that would be especially welcome when there is an abundance of citrus in the markets.
To see how everyone else fared with this original take on an upside-down cake, be sure to visit the Cake Slice blogroll.
Orange-Almond-Caramel Upside-Down Cake
Recipe from Lauren Chattman's Cake Keeper Cakes
1 cup sliced almonds
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
Prepare the topping:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" round pan, line with parchment paper, then grease and flour the parchment paper.
Toast the almonds on a baking sheet until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Melt the 6 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then stir in the brown sugar. Reduce to heat to low and cook, whisking, 2 minutes. Scrape into the pan, then drizzle with honey. Spread the almonds over the honey and set aside.
Prepare the cake:
In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir together the sour cream, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup or small bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a hand mixer) cream together the sugar and 1 stick butter on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the orange zest.
With the mixer turned to medium-low, add the egg mixture in a slow stream, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer to low, then add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the mixer after each addition. Raise the speed to medium, and beat for 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into the pan, then smooth with an spatula. Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cake cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Place a plate over the pan, then, holding tightly with oven mitts, quickly flip the cake out onto the plate. If any almonds stick to the pan you can scrape them out and place them on top of the cake. Let cake cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
Store cake at room temperature in a cake keeper, or wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days.
Serves 8 - 12