NECTARINE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
My husband reckons that this is the cake I won him over with, and it’s one of my favourite desserts of all time. I learned the original recipe during my time at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and here I’ve made it with nectarines, though you could use peaches or plums instead.
125 g unsalted butter
125 g raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 free-range eggs
125 g self-raising flour
280 g sugar
6 nectarines, halved and stones removed
cream or ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Beat the butter and raw sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla paste and eggs and whisk until creamy, then stir in the flour and mix well to form a thick batter. Set aside.
Put the sugar and 150 ml water in a flameproof casserole dish and cook over a medium-low heat, without stirring, until a golden brown caramel develops (be sure to watch it carefully at this point as you don’t want the caramel to burn).
Remove the casserole dish from the heat and carefully drop the nectarine halves into the caramel cut side down in an even layer (this will stop the caramel cooking further). Carefully spoon the batter evenly over the fruit and smooth the top, then place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake comes away from the edges of the dish.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to rest for 2 minutes, then cover the dish with a serving platter and turn it upside down to invert the cake onto the plate. Rearrange any nectarine pieces that may have got stuck to the pan and serve warm with cream or ice cream. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.
Sharlee is a creative director of food events, founder of Fully Booked Women and co-author of the cookbook Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How it is at Home.
This recipe is an extract from the book published by Hardie Grant, photography by Patricia Niven and styling by Caroline Velik.
You can follow Sharlee and her adventures in food on Instagram @sharleegibb