Seriously Simple: Nectarines add a taste of summer to an upside-down cake
My mom was not a baker. She could barbecue a steak and make a great salad, but when it came to dessert it was Van de Kamp's chocolate chip cookies from the cookie drawer or Baskin Robbins ice cream from the freezer. She once made a pineapple upside down cake from a box; and while I was intrigued with the whole notion of an upside down cake, I never desired one again. Years later, when I was attending Le Cordon Bleu, I was reintroduced to the upside down cake. And that changed my thinking of just how good that dessert could be.
A simple buttery sponge cake crowned with a halo of caramelized fruit was a thing of beauty, as well as a sweet end to any meal. Since then, I have gone on to make myriad upside down cakes with stellar results every time. I've made the cake batter with nuts, cornmeal and brown butter. This cake is enriched with sour cream, offering up a moist cakey result.
Nectarines can be either freestone or clingstone. As it sounds, clingstone means the pit sticks to the fruit and is more difficult to remove. If you ask your produce person for freestone nectarines, it will be easy to remove and slice the nectarines. If you do find the fruit clings to the pit, use a paring knife to help you free the slices from the pit.
Nectarines have a smooth skin that doesn't need to be removed. You can use whichever nectarine variety you prefer. Just remember to select ones that are not too soft; otherwise they will fall apart.
The upside down cake is an old-fashioned dessert that belongs in the Seriously Simple recipe box. Upside down cakes are traditionally baked in cast-iron skillets, but you can use any heavy deep pan that will allow the fruit to caramelize on top of the stove. I actually use my tart tatin pan with its rounded edges. I hope you'll try this recipe and then branch out with other flavors and fruits depending upon the season.
Butterscotch Nectarine Sour Cream Upside-Down Cake
Serves 8 to 12
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt