Whatever upside-down cake


  • Serves 10 people

  • 250 gm unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 220 gm (1 cup firmly packed) light brown sugar
  • 800 gm figs, halved (see note)
  • 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour
  • 45 gm fine polenta
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 290 ml milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 360 gm white sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • Spiked anglaise
  • 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
  • 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
01   Preheat oven to 170C. Melt 75gm butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar, stir occasionally until dissolved (3-4 minutes). Spread in base of a buttered 22cm x 32cm cake tin or baking dish, arrange fruit on top in rows, overlapping slightly, set aside
02   Combine flour, polenta, baking powder and ½ tsp salt in a large bowl and set aside. Combine milk and vanilla in a separate bowl and set aside. Beat remaining butter and 330gm sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (4-5 minutes). Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mixing on low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture then half the milk mixture and mix to just combine. Add remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk mixture, mix to just combine, then transfer to a large bowl.
03   Whisk eggwhite and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until foamy (2-3 minutes). Whisking continuously, gradually add remaining sugar and whisk until medium peaks form (2-3 minutes). Fold half the eggwhite mixture into batter, then fold in remaining eggwhite mixture. Spoon into cake tin over fruit, spreading evenly. Bake until cake is golden and centre springs back when lightly pressed (50 minutes-1 hour), cool in tin (10 minutes).
04   Meanwhile, for spiked anglaise, bring cream, vanilla bean and seeds and half the sugar to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl until thick and pale (3-4 minutes). Add cream mixture, whisk to combine, return to pan and stir continuously until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (3-4 minutes). Strain into a bowl, stir in liqueur and refrigerate until chilled. Makes about 750ml.
05   Run a knife around sides of tin to loosen cake. Place a serving platter on top, carefully invert and gently shake tin to release cake. Slice and serve warm with spiked anglaise.
Note As the name suggests, you can use any fruit and liqueur you choose in place of the figs and amaretto we’ve used in our version.

This recipe is from the November 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Wine suggestion A lightly sparkling demi-sec rosé.
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