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Category: Desserts

Upside-Down Cake With Mixed Dried Fruits

Deborah Madison is known for great vegetarian cookbooks, beginning with the landmark "Greens Cookbook," which she wrote in 1987 as the founding chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco. Clearly this is a woman who knows her produce. Madison's new ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 8
Note: This is a wonderfully delicate, buttery cake that is worth making even during the height of the summer fruit season, but will be especially welcome during the winter months. The Times Test Kitchen used a mixture of dried apricots, cherries and plums.

Fruit and topping

  • 2 1/3 cups dried fruits
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

Step 1Place the fruit in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the fruit is plump and soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Step 2Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, then whisk in the sugar. When it has melted, turn off the heat and allow the syrup to settle evenly over the bottom. Arrange the fruits attractively over the top, the cut sides facing up. If some pieces are very large, you might cut them into halves or quarters so that the cake will be easy to slice.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Step 1Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and almond extracts and the eggs, one at a time, and beat until thoroughly smooth. Scrape down the bowl between additions, then add the buttermilk.

Step 3In another bowl, sift or whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together so that they are combined evenly. With the mixer on low, add them to the batter in 3 or 4 separate additions.

Step 4Spoon the batter over the fruit, then bake in the center of the oven until the cake is golden and starting to pull away from the sides, about 25 to 35 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then place a serving plate over the skillet, grasp both together, and flip them over. Remove the skillet. Serve while still a bit warm or when fully cooled.

Each serving:
513 calories; 414 mg sodium; 95 mg cholesterol; 18 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 85 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 4.15 grams fiber.
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