Channeling my inner Martha + Nectarine Downside-Up Cake










I've never been much of a baker. I had fun with boxed cake mixes and pretended like I was master of the oven as I cracked in eggs, drizzled oil, and poured water into the magical powder. I even tried my hand at the Easy-Bake Oven way back in the day [have you seen how fancy these have gotten? I might need to get my hands on one...] But the truth is, baking has always been a little frustrating for me. I despise measuring things out precisely, feel guilty using a million separate bowls, and get confused when I have to use so many different kinds of utensils.


But today, I put on my baker's hat, tied my apron snug against my waist, and rolled up my sleeves. I was gonna channel my inner-Martha and bake us a cake! We had some nectarines we'd got at the farm mar that were going soft, so I thought I'd find a recipe to squeeze those in. So here's proof that you should never say never, and that dreams can come true! (Chris' dream of cake, that is. He wished for it and miraculously, it appeared!)

I decided to rename it Nectarine "Downside-Up" Cake because I'm one to see the glass half full and I was determined to turn my frustrations into fiction. Why talk negatively and think about the poor upside being down? Maybe the upside likes it that way. Why not think about how excited the downside is to be up for a change? This cake is great not only because it's a happy cake, but because it's a fairly simple cake with with awe-factor of a complicated one. It came out super moist and flavorful and I'm excited to try it with other fruits as the seasons change.

Hints for success:
*make sure your butter is room temp so it will make your batter nice and fluffy
*pat your nectarines with paper towels and put some weight on them to squeeze out excess liquid to achieve optimal texture
* eat it within a few days. we found it looses its moist-ness if you carelessly cover it in plastic wrap [oops], so just be safe and eat it right away =)

Happy eating. Go turn some downsides up!


Nectarine Downside-Up Cake [adapted from this Martha Stewart recipe]

What you need:

Useful kitchen tools
  9 inch cake pan
  mixer (or a really fast arm and a whisk)

For the fruit (downside)
  2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  1/3 cup brown sugar
  3 nectarines, cut into bite-sized pieces

For the cake batter (upside)
  1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temp 
  3/4 cup granulated sugar
  2 eggs
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Steps:

Put 1/4 stick butter in cake pan and place in oven. Preheat oven to 325˚ and let the butter melt. Chop up your nectarines to bite-sized pieces and place on a paper towel to absorb the moisture. Be sure to pat the top with another paper towel and squeeze out all the liquid. Check on your butter and once melted, remove from oven and add brown sugar and combine. Then top the butter and sugar mixture with your fruit and spread evenly.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

In the mixer (or large bowl if you don't have one) beat 1 stick butter on high till fluffy (about 5 minutes). Turn down to medium-low speed and add granulated sugar. Add eggs in one at a time then vanilla and scrape bowl with rubber spatula as you go. Then slowly add half your dry ingredients to the wet mixture until combined. Add half the Greek yogurt till combined, then the rest of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the yogurt. Once combined, you should have a thick light mixture. 

Scoop the batter out with a rubber spatula and smooth over nectarines till it's even. Place in oven and bake until golden, approximately 35-45 minutes. Do not remove it from cake pan until it's cooled about 15 minutes. Then run a knife around the pan and place your serving plate on top. Flip the plate and pan so it catches the cake and give it a jiggle and it should fall onto your dish. It will be pretty and brilliant and you should show it to everyone and get them excited about their dessert (or if you're baking this for yourself, brush your shoulders as if to say "I'm super fly"). 

Slice and serve! (and remember to call it a Nectarine Downside-Up Cake. I'm sure it'll catch on soon.)

Happy baking,
- Megan

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