Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Baking with Julia: Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon (cup)Cake

The Labor Day weekend has come and gone... how did this summer go by so fast?!? *sigh* Since we are temporarily car-less, we didn't plan much this weekend and mainly puttered around at home. Knowing the stores would be closed on Monday for the holiday, I checked the recipe (here and here) to make sure I had everything I needed for this recipe as I didn't want to find myself missing anything when it came time to bake.

So, after a nice, leisurely weekend of watching tv, going for a nice long walk with B and working on a quilt project, I gathered everything to make Pasta Carbonara for dinner and the upside down cake for dessert. Pulled everything out on the counter to get my mise en place together and discovered.... I only had 4 eggs left. Wait... when I had checked the other day I had 7 eggs, which should have been plenty for the two recipes! Then I realized, B had kindly made me french toast for breakfast... that explained the missing eggs. What to do... I couldn't run out and get more, and I couldn't make Carbonara without them, and I wasn't about to start tweaking the cake recipe, never having made the thing before. B suggested making a half-recipe for the cake, but it was baked in a pan with two layers... I only have one size of cake pan, and surely halving the recipe for a full-size pan would result in skimpy layers, and that just wouldn't do. Then it hit me.... cupcakes! Since it's just B and I, having a few individual-sized servings is better anyway and it would certainly make up for the fact that I'd only have half the batter! So, cupcakes it was...

Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cupcakes

I lined a cupcake tin with paper liners, drizzling in some butter and brown sugar and topping with a few slices of nectarine. The streusel was simple to make and did it ever smell lovely, toasting in the oven! I'm going to have to remember that one the next time I make coffee cake! The batter was surprisingly simple, though I was nervous to be dealing with one of these 'fussy' cake batters again (remember the French Strawberry Cake? I do. :P ). I don't deal well with delicate things in the kitchen... inevitably I do (or forget to do) something and deflation/disappointment soon follows. But I followed the steps in the recipe and when it came tine to fold one half of the batter into the other, it came together quite nicely! I think the fact that the dry ingredients are first mixed into the egg yolks to form a batter, then folded into the whites makes a big difference. It came together smoothly and I realized I shouldn't have worried about not having enough. Having made only half the recipe still gave me a mixing bowl almost full of batter!

I briefly thought maybe I should scratch the cupcake idea and move everything over into my cake pan, but I really liked the idea of the smaller portions, so I stuck with the cupcakes. I spooned the batter over the nectarine slices and then sprinkled the streusel on top (the cupcake moulds are relatively shallow, so i didn't bother trying to put the streusel in between two layers of the batter). Having filled all the cupcakes to the very top, I still had quite a bit of batter left, so just for kicks I pulled out a loaf pan, put some more butter and brown sugar in the bottom then a generous pour of maple syrup and spooned the rest of the streusel in, topping with the remaining batter. I wasn't quite sure how that'd turn out, but figured with enough butter, maple syrup and streusel, it couldn't be that bad ;)

Fresh out of the oven
I had to keep an eye on them as they baked, as straying from the recipe meant I had no clue how long to bake them for. They took maybe half the time that the cake would have and were able to cool off as we finished our dinner. The end result was very nice... the cake was extremely light, the streusel topping was toasty and delicious, and the fruit was soft and buttery, and all three went nicely together. Once the loaf and the remaining cupcakes had completely cooled, they had deflated considerably. While still perfectly edible, for presentation purposes, this is a cake best served straight from the oven! :)


  1. What a great idea--who doesn't love their own little dessert!

  2. I've had some not-enough-eggs baking emergencies, myself. Your cupcakes looks lovely - it's a nice way to present it, especially if you're not feeding a crowd.

  3. Where this is a will, there is a way! Good job! Catherine http://praycookblog.com/2012/09/twd-bwj-nectarine-upside-down-chiffon-cake/

  4. Oh - I like the cupcake version. Great thinking!

  5. Good idea! I myself love cupcakes!

  6. Now that was a smart idea! The things you were worried about happened to me instead! ;(

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