In the world of cakes, right-side-up or up-side-down, my preferences lie with a bit of cornmeal. Make no mistake, I'll eat just about any cake that's set in front of me, but if you've ever had a cornmeal cake, you'll perhaps understand my partiality. The texture and flavor that cornmeal lends to a cake is just so compellingly delicious. In my humble opinion.
And it turns out that this particular cornmeal cake is a bit of an over-achiever in that department. I scarce know where to start. Perhaps with the bottom, which will eventually become the top, because that layer of brown sugar/butter caramel is 100% the best thing you will ever taste on a cake.
Add some apricots or peaches or nectarines, or whatever stone fruit you have on hand. I scored a basket of apricots last week so that's what I used and they were perfection in this cake. As I've explained previously, my sweet tooth lies dormant most of the time, but occasionally it gets a bit worked up and this cake definitely had that effect. I may have had seconds but that's all I'm admitting to. Leftovers for breakfast? Don't even get me started.
And trust me when I tell you that this cake is super easy to throw together... melt a little butter and brown sugar in the pan, top it with some halved apricots or peaches or whatever, mix the batter, spread it on top, bake and invert.
Totally sublime if eaten warm, perhaps a small scoop of ice cream, but honestly, it needs nothing. Nothing, I tell you. It is sufficient unto itself...
...and truly addictive whether your sweet tooth is ready to party or not. This cake will not be denied; the party is real. Here's the recipe...
Apricot Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake
If you don't have a 10-inch cast iron skillet (my kitchen would be incomplete without one), I think you could bake this in a 10-inch cake pan. I haven't tried that, but I can't think of a reason it wouldn't work.
Recipe courtesy Rustic Fruit Desserts
4 small stone fruits, such as apricots, peaches or plums, halved
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter (I used salted)
1/2 cup packed (3 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces fine cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup (4 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and blends with the butter to form a caramel (this only takes about 3 minutes).
Remove from the heat and arrange the fruit halves on top of the caramel, cut side down.
To make the cake, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Using a hand held mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and scaping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Transfer the batter to the skillet and gently spread it evenly over the fruit.
Bake in the middle of the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back lightly when touched.
Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before flipping it over. (Run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen before flipping).