Saturday, April 28, 2012

Random Recipes: Upside-down Apricot Cake

There seems to have been a proliferation of upside down cakes in the blogosphere this week, I've seen at least four others! However, this recipe is my entry into the Random Recipes challenge hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen. This month's challenge was to select a book at random from the baking books you own and then flick through with your eyes closed and whatever recipe you land on, you bake! The book I selected was Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell.
This challenge suits me down to the ground as I would estimate that over 90% of my recipe books are baking related. So I had rather a large selection to choose from as you can see from the picture...and this is only a fraction of the books I own. I think many people would agree that buying recipe books is just as addictive as baking out of them!!!
Well it's fair to say that my previous two entries for Random Recipes have been somewhat challenging. I selected a Fruit Slice with Flaky Pastry in January and an Alice in Wonderland Teapot cake in March. So I thought when I picked an upside down cake this would be the easiest yet but to be honest I'm a little dubious about the outcome and therefore the recipe below has the modifications I would make.                                                               d                                                                                                                          
The first thing I have to say is NEVER believe a recipe for an upside down cake or similar which suggests using a loose bottom tin. I was slightly dubious about this to start with but who am I to argue with the recipe. Well I was right to be dubious...within minutes of putting my cake in the oven the juice and melted butter for the bottom of the tin leaked out of the base... leading to some serious oven cleaning once the cake came out. I think had it not been loose bottomed all that lovely syrup and sugar would have given a better caramelised top to the cake. Lakeland have actually started selling something called PushPans which are essentially loose bottomed but they have a seal round the bottom to prevent just this sort of thing. Has anyone tried them?
So what other modifications would I make. Well I used tinned apricots as the British apricot season is May to September, and they worked just fine. In addition to the cake the recipe also calls for a syrup to be made to pour over the cake once turned out. This consists of honey, water and lemon juice, half a lemon in fact. However, I found the taste of lemon in the syrup completely overwhelming, it basically obliterates the flavour of the apricots and the cake. So if I were to make this again I think I'd just put in a tablespoon of lemon juice or quite possibly none at all.
My final observation is that the cake seemed to brown up very quickly on the outside and take a lot longer on the inside. This could well have been something to do with my baking but I did put foil over the cake towards the end but also had to leave it around 5 minutes longer than stated in the recipe.
All this aside the general taste of the cake was good but I definitely preferred it with less of the overpowering syrup! The apricots were lovely and soft and the texture of the cake was light. This is my first upside down cake and I'd certainly like to try another one!

Recipe adapted from Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell:


100g set honey
100ml water
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)


30g light muscovado sugar
30g salted butter
12 tinned apricot halves if out of season, otherwise you can use fresh apricots


150g salted butter
150g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
125ml whole milk
200g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Start by making the honey syrup. Weigh out the honey in the saucepan and add the water (and lemon juice if using). Bring to the boil. Whilst waiting, measure out the cornflour into a small bowl. When the honey and water comes to the boil pour a small amount in with the cornflour and mix to a smooth paste. Then add this back into the saucepan and simmer for one minute or until slightly thickened. Set aside to cool, you could serve this on the side in a jug if you'd like.

Heat the oven to 200c/180c fan/gas 6 before creaming together the muscovado and butter for the apricots. This is then smeared around the base of a 20cm cake tin WITHOUT removeable base. Maybe try a push pan or if you try a fixed base pan let me know how you get on!! Then arrange the apricots on top of the butter/sugar mix with the cut side down. The original recipe suggests 10, I found that 12 fitted better.

Finally, make the cake mixture to cover the apricots. This is fairly easy, just cream together the sugar and butter before adding the eggs one at a time. At this point add the lemon zest. You can then sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and add the milk. Give it a good mix before spooning over the aprictos and levelling the surface.

Bake for around 45-50 minutes, although it took me around 55 minutes. If the cake appears to be browning rather too much on the top just pop a bit of foil over it as you near the end of the cooking tim. When you remove the cake from the oven, leave it to cool in the pan for around 15 minutes but you can run a knife around the edge as it comes out.
To remove from the tin place a plate over the top of the cake tin and then invert the cake and it should come out onto your plate. To serve pour the honey syrup over the top of the cake. You could serve this warm or at room temperature. Warm with some ice cream might be good for dessert! :-)


  1. well it must have been a relief not to have had to create something quite so tricky... well... saying that... and you know I had exactly this problem the other day with a loose bottom pan and a runny cake. If you ask me it looks incredible and i've never made an upside down anything before! Thanks so much for celebrating my 2nd blogaversary with my!

  2. Perfect upside down cake you have here..yummy!

  3. What a lovely tasty upside cake! Great idea using apricotstoo, I must say! Ya, I have the same problem when baking in those spring form lose bottom pans! It's really nerve racking when all started to leaked out & turned out to be a huge mess & a massive oven cleaning! Glad to know this new Pushpan! Really appreciate the info. Have a lovely weekend Laura! :)

  4. Looks very yummy, Laura, even with the leaking problem. I've had that before with loose bottomed pans, too, so was thinking about trying the Lakeland one. Would love to know if they are any good before buying them though! :)

  5. I absolutely adore apricots! So juicy and they go so well in cakes! Bookmarking this.

  6. Oh your cake looks lovely Laura - such a nice sunny recipe for a miserable weekend too. I use my silicone moulds for upside down cakes and they work brilliantly - no sticking and no leakages.

  7. I always use an all in one paper liner when making cakes like this to stop it oozing out. You can use foil too.
    Cake looks lovely though...and I bet your oven's nice and clean too! (I too have had the forced oven clean when something has leaked or bubbled over!)

  8. I love upside down cakes. Like the idea of using apricots.

  9. Mmmmm I might have to do some investigation on the best way to stop the leaking...either the push pan, the lining/foil or the silicone mould...I feel an experiment coming on!!

    But the good news is, it tasted good! :-)

  10. Great looking cake, even if it did leak a bit. Lakeland usually get things right so I might buy the push tins. I HATE cleaning the oven. I'm facing leaky cheese this morning. GG

  11. I love apricots and this looks delicious

  12. Upside down cakes are such and under appreciate treat. This looks heavenly! Yum!

  13. What a lovely blog! I am here for the first time and loving it! I am following you! Can I pin you pictures on Pinterest??


  14. I really enjoy upside down cakes as desserts and apricots look just great. Strange about the syrup being so powerful.

  15. I have the same book but have not baked from it for ages. I think my bookshelf looks quite similar to yours! I've never seen an apricot upside down cake before - looks good! I have been purposefully avoiding Lakeland but am not surprised that they would sell it as they have everything in there!

  16. Lovely step shots, apricots are so lovely in this recipe.

  17. I love upside down cakes and think they work especially well with apricot. I use my Le Creuset tarte tatin dish for mine.

  18. Man, upside down cakes are the bee's knees! They just evoke so many memories for me cause my mom made pineapple upside down cake all the time. She even has a cake carrier that is specific for her pineapple upside down cake haha. This loooks delicious, I'll definitely have to try. Following your blog now, looking forward to sharing with you!

  19. Looks great :) I've never made an upside cake before but should definitely try and I totally agree baking books are SO SO SO addictive i can't wait to buy another one this weekend ~ I'm trying to control myself hehe


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