Do you ever wake up to a house that smells a little off? Maybe you forgot to take out the trash, or you left something out of the fridge for too long. Maybe you just had a crazy party last night... (I hope you had a crazy party last night.)
Whatever the reason may be, sometimes your house just needs a little pick-me-up... But do you really want to spend your free time cleaning? Do you really want the smell of cleaning products hovering around the house?
That's what I thought.
So, I made cake - an upside down nectarine cake that is guaranteed to make your house smell awesome and sweet. It starts with the smell of hazelnuts roasting in the oven, continues with the sweet aroma of nectarine slices caramelizing and ends with a delicious and fragrant cake. Bonus: it also tastes delicious.
A pick-me-up for the house and for you...
Have I ever told you that nectarines are my all-time favorite summer fruit? While everyone else is celebrating strawberries and blueberries, I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of this sweet and luscious stone fruit. So soft. So juicy. Now that it's finally here, I'm seizing every opportunity to use it: I'm putting it in smoothies, breakfast bowls, salads and summer pies and, now, in this beautiful upside down cake.
What? You don't share my love for nectarines?
No biggie. Go ahead and substitute them for peaches or plums. It'll work just as well.
This cake batter, though? It may have you doubting at one point or another. It starts out very wet and runny and then, in the end, it becomes very thick... much thicker than you'd expect for a cake. It's confusing, but you shouldn't worry too much about it. By the time it comes out of the oven, it will have transformed into an airy, crumby cake speckled with hazelnuts and vanilla. Trust the recipe.
upside down nectarine cake
adapted from Yvette van Boven's Homebaked
makes one 22 cm round cake
100 gr hazelnuts
3-5 nectarines, slightly under-ripe and cut into 8 wedges
50 gr raw cane sugar
125 gr unsalted butter, at room temperature (+ extra for greasing and baking)
100 gr raw cane sugar
2 large eggs
125 ml non-fat yoghurt
1 vanilla bean (or 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
250 gr all purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsp baking powder, sifted with the flour
pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 175˚C. Grease your cake tin - a springform pan is best - and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
2. Spread the hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool.
3. Meanwhile, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick pan. Add the nectarine slices and sprinkle the 50 gr of cane sugar on top. Cook on low-medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and has mixed with the juices from the nectarines. Arrange the nectarine slices on the bottom of the cake tin and pour the remaining syrup on top.
4. Transfer the cooled hazelnuts to a food processor. You can leave the skins on, but if you want to remove them, simply rub the hazelnuts to do so. Process until the hazelnuts are finely ground. Whisk together with the flour, baking powder and salt.
5. If using a vanilla bean, cut it lengthwise and use the back of a knife to scrape out the seeds.
6. Cream the butter with the remaining 100 gr of raw cane sugar until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Add the yoghurt, followed by the vanilla (seeds or extract). If, at any point during this process, it looks as if the mixture is curdling, add in some of the flour mixture - just enough to make it come together again.
7. Once the eggs, yoghurt and vanilla are incorporated, add the flour mixture and use a spatula to fold it in. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated, but don't over-mix. You want to have a thick, but smooth batter.
8. Add the batter to the cake tin, on top of the nectarines. The batter won't really be pourable, so use a spatula to spread it out. Bake at 175˚C for 45 minutes. The cake is ready when it's puffed up in the center and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9. Leave the cake in the tin for 15-20 minutes before inverting it, carefully, onto a wire rack. Gently peel off the parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
Well-wrapped and refrigerated, this cake keeps for 2-3 days.