Hello from Sydney! It's definitely Summer here. I basically melted when I arrived on Saturday and have been freezing to death in the office during the workdays. Just like my summers on the East Coast!
I spent Sunday determinedly trying to have a beach day despite partial clouds and high winds that dusted me with a fine mist of sand every few seconds. I'm not as hard core as the Aussies, so I decamped for grassier ground after an hour, though I have two burned shoulders for my efforts, so I guess it was successful? I always seem to have terrible luck choosing beach days here, but one day, I will have a good beach outing in Sydney.
Meanwhile, I'm happy thinking about more successful tries, like this upside down cake.
Cake is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food, right? As long as we are adding some fruit? It has Vitamin C!
Yes, I think so.
After all, a warm, soft, crumbly cake studded with citrus and herbs and soaked in a buttery caramel just goes so well with my morning tea. It would be a travesty to confine this thing to only dessert. The trick, really, is not eating the entire cake in one sitting (I managed to stretch it to three servings).
I have never made a pineapple upside cake or really ever been interested in eating one, but that is what this cake is based on. Instead of pineapple I swapped in fragrant seasonal blood orange and some rosemary, for the perfect January treat. And thankfully it turned out so much better than my last adventure with blood oranges.
I like to think of it as a casual cake, something you can whip up in seemingly no time, for brunch with friends, a cozy weekend morning on the sofa, yes, a quick dessert. The oranges and caramel cook up into a ready-made topping, so no extra effort on frosting needed. You can "artfully" scatter some rosemary around if you are feeling fancy, or leave it off. It's a little retro, a little grown up, but definitely delicious.
Blood Orange Rosemary Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Anne Byrn, serves 4.
For the Blood Orange Topping:
- 2 1/2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 blood orange, sectioned
For the Rosemary Cake:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tbs olive oil
- 3/8 cup sugar, divided
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 egg, separated
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tbs lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tbs blood orange juice (squeezed from remains of sectioned orange or from another orange if needed)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in a 6 inch cast iron skillet and melt over medium-low heat, making sure to run the butter around the sides of the skillet as it melts (you want this cake to come out of the pan!). Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar, then spread the butter and sugar mixture in an even layer over the skillet surface. Arrange blood orange sections across in whatever pattern you like.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the olive oil, sugar, egg yolk, rosemary, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix to combine. In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream and blood orange juice until smooth. Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture to the batter, alternating, until completely combined and a thick batter forms.
- In a separate, large mixing bowl, beat egg white to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and beat to stiff peaks, the carefully fold egg white mixture into the batter until no streaks of whites remain, being careful not to deflate the egg white too much.
- Pour the batter evenly over the arranged orange slices, transfer skillet to the oven to the middle rack and bake, 25-27 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden, and cake has risen quite a bit out of the skillet. You may want to place a baking sheet under the skillet to catch any drips.
- When cake is done, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge, then carefully flip onto a plate or platter and serve warm.