for this weeks baking with julia challenge, we turn to our hosts, marlise of the double trouble kitchen and susan of the little french bakery . summer may be quickly coming to a close but the nectarines called for in this recipe are still easy to find in grocery stores and farmers markets making this a great dessert for any picnic or barbecue. unless of course you have just spent the last month making all things peach in honor of national peach month. and before you go on about the differences between peaches and nectarines, be honest, once incorporated into a cake like this, who will actually be able to tell the difference? not my husband and as far as he is concerned, a cooked peach is not one that he will eat. that said, i grabbed a large, ripe bartlett pear and got to work. knowing that we wouldn’t eat a tall 10″ cake by ourselves, i cut the recipe in half and used an 8″ cake pan. even though it was only 2″ tall, the batter filled the pan completely and did not run out onto the tray while baking.
one difference between most upside down cakes and this one is the choice of cake. most recipes call for a rich but simple butter cake while this recipe utilizes a lighter chiffon cake. the other difference, a crunchy streusel that is baked until golden before being layered into the cake. the recipe called for almonds and the need to toast them before adding them to the streusel. feeling a bit lazy, i grabbed my bag of dry roasted pistachios and omitted that step.
butter melted in the bottom of a cake pan, dark brown sugar patted down in an even layer and pear slices arranged over the soon to be caramel layer. the bottom of the pan now but it will be the top of the cake after baking so it is important to make it look pretty. try to keep the center of the pear on the inside so that the top of the cake looks nicer.
prebaking the streusel made it seem like a layer of granola so i am now wondering if you might not just skip that step and sprinkle a good granola into the cake-surely that could work.
listen to the warning to serve the cake immediately, it really does not hold up well for more than a day. the moisture in the fruit makes the cake gummy and gives it an unpleasant texture.
thanks to marlise and susan. buy the book and bake with julia!