The Cake Slice May 2011: Orange Almond Caramel Upside-Down Cake
This months Cake Slice cake intrigued me, orange, honey, caramel and almond is not a combination I have come across before I was a little unsure how it would taste. On reading the recipe, the caramel upside-down part reminded me of a sticky bun recipe. Toasted nuts and caramel are spread into the base of the cake tin before a cake batter is poured on top, baked and then turned out to reveal the nutty gooey caramel layer on top. It sounded delicious so I was more than happy to give it a go.
I decided to half the recipe and bake it in a smaller tin. Due to this I decided to use the zest and juice of a tangerine in place of the orange as this seemed more fitting to its size, plus I was all out of oranges. The only other alternation I made was to replace the vanilla extract with almond extract in order to tie the almond flavour into the cake as well as the nutty caramel topping. The cake was quick and easy to put together and I had high hopes for it.
Sadly, for me, the cake did not live up to expectations. That’s not to say there was anything wrong with it, it was a perfectly nice cake, but that’s as far as it goes – nice but not great.
It was very moist and the nutty caramel topping was sticky and I loved the texture of biting into a sliver of almond, but somehow eaten as a whole it just didn’t work for me. The flavours seemed confused with no one flavour standing out, only mingling into a slightly bland one-note taste.
I tried another slice the following day and found that the tangerine flavour had developed, which to me improved the cake, but I still wasn’t crazy about it. Despite my less than glowing review of this cake, by all means try it out for yourself as I know some of my fellow bakers absolutely loved it.
For the Cake
180g plain flour (I used 100g brown rice flour, 40g buckwheat, 40g tapioca flour)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
80ml sour cream
55ml orange juice (I used tangerine)
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used almond)
100g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
1 tbsp grated orange zest (I used tangerine)
(I added 1 tsp xanthan gum)
Method - Topping
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9 inch round non stick cake pan and line the base with parchment paper. Dust with flour.
Spread the nuts on a baking tray and toast until golden, 8 to 10 minutes (mine only took 4 minutes!!) Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Drizzle over the honey and scatter over the toasted nuts.
Method - Cake
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Combine the sour cream, eggs, orange juice and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and beat lightly.
Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Stir in the orange zest.
With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides.
Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, a third at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Then mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.
Pour the batter over the almonds, gently spreading it into an even layer.
Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes.
Holding the pan and a plate together firmly with oven mitts, invert the hot cake onto the plate. Peel away the parchment paper. If necessary, replace any almonds stuck to the base of the pan. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Note: I halved the recipe above and baked it in a 6inch tin for 35minutes.