Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Blackberry Skillet Upside-Down Cake
I don't usually follow recipes myself (at the very least I usually seem to tinker with the spices) but this recipe from the cookbook Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless is absolutely perfect just the way it is. While no one would complain if you served it for dessert this cake goes just as well with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Delicious but wholesome is has a slight nutty flavor imparted by the browned butter and whole wheat flour which melds perfectly with the blackberries (or blueberries!). Also, this cake stays remarkably moist for the modest 6 tbsp of butter in the recipe.
The best part about this cake? It can be whipped together in 10 minutes and out of the oven ready to serve in another 35 minutes. I often make this cake on Sunday evening and leave it in the skillet so as the week goes by Dirk and I can cut off a wedge and heat it up for breakfast. It makes getting out of bed much easier knowing I have this cake to look forward to.
So I have to admit, I got so excited about taking pictures of my breakfast this morning, that by the time I took a bite, it had already gotten cold. No problem, I thought, I'll just zap it in the microwave. Well a few distractions later and I looked over at the table, saw an empty plate and thought, hmm...I guess I already finished my breakfast. I wonder why I'm still hungry? Must have been that long walk yesterday... Well, twenty minutes later I went to heat up my coffee which had also gotten cold and lo and behold, there was my slice of cake sitting in the microwave with only a single bite taken out of it. Sigh. Maybe it's hereditary - I'd say almost fifty percent of the time that I went to heat something up in the microwave at my parent's house I'd find my mom's now cold cup of coffee that she had heated up and forgotten about. Does anyone else do this on a regular basis?
Onto the recipe!
Blackberry Skillet Upside Down Cake
6 Tbsp butter (preferably unsalted)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries or blueberries (no need to thaw if frozen)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (or additional all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 "large" egg
3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt*
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the middle. Melt the butter in a large (10-inch) ovenproof skillet.** Swirl the butter in the skillet until it turns nut-brown and smells deliciously nutty. Immediately pour the butter into a medium bowl. Without wiping out the skillet, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom. Top with the fruit in an even layer.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, soda and baking powder. Add the white sugar to the browned butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the egg, then the buttermilk or yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ones. Whisk to thoroughly combine.
Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springy to the touch at the center. Remove and let cool 10 minutes.
If desired, invert a plate onto the skillet, then, holding plate and skillet firmly together with towels or pot holders, invert the two in one swift movement. Remove the skillet, and the cake is ready to serve. According to Rick it's best right out of the oven, but I certainly like it every day after that!
*If you don't have any of these on hand, just put two teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar in a measuring cup and pour milk in to bring it up to 3/4 cup. Let stand for five minute and proceed to use it in the recipe!
**Rick recommends a nonstick skillet with an ovenproof handle but I always have great results using my 10-inch cast iron (albeit if I let it sit in the cast iron for a few days, the fruit takes on a slight iron flavor which might be offputting to some people, so if you don't like that flavor, just remove it from the cast iron once it's cooled slightly after baking as described above).