The holidays are over and I’m back from my self-imposed hiatus from blogging. I knew that with all of the holiday preparations and spending time with family and friends, I wouldn’t have enough to blog, so rather than feeling guilty about it, I decided to just take the time off. I was feeling burnt out anyway, and the time away from the blog has really helped. I’m excited to be back and I have lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes to share this coming year, including this Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake I adapted from pastry chef Gale Gand.
Once in a while, I crave chocolate. Scratch that! I OFTEN crave chocolate, so this cake seemed like the perfect way to deliciously indulge my chocolate craving and start off the year on the right foot. It is moist and chocolate-y, with just a hint of orange in the easiest caramel topping you’ll ever make! I used sliced almonds in the topping because I had some leftover from making almond bread for Christmas, but you can use whatever nuts you have on hand.
I did encounter a problem making this cake – my topping was slightly burnt. I was afraid the batter might overflow in the oven so I used a baking sheet under the cake pan to catch any spillover (which there was none). I think having the cake pan sit on a hot baking sheet instead of the oven grate cooked the bottom, where the topping was, a little too much. It wasn’t too bad, but next time I will place the cake pan directly on the oven rack to better circulate the heat. Also, I suspect that my oven is running hotter than the indicated temperature so I need to buy an oven thermometer to correct that. Other than that, it is a delicious cake.
I hope you enjoyed the holidays. Happy New Year everyone!
Chocolate-Almond Upside-Down Cake
Yields a 10-inch round cake
For the Orange Caramel topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
one large orange (for zest)
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cups sliced or slivered almonds
For The Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self rising) (I used 1 cup cake flour and 1/4 cup sifted almond meal)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare the topping: Generously butter a 10-inch round nonstick cake pan. Pour 6 tablespoons melted butter into the cake pan and swirl to coat the bottom; sprinkle in brown sugar. Grate orange zest evenly over the brown sugar. Drizzle honey over sugar mixture and sprinkle evenly with almonds.
Prepare the cake: For an extra light cake, sift the dry ingredients – the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt – together three times. Set aside.
Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and continue mixing. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue mixing for another 3 minutes. With the mixer running on low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add half the buttermilk and continue mixing. Add another third of the dry ingredients, mix, and add remaining buttermilk and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix just until smooth.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until set in the center and springy, 45 to 55 minutes. (It took almost the entire 55 minutes for the middle of the cake to set.) Run a knife around the edge of the pan and immediately invert the pan onto a serving platter. Let it sit with the pan still on top for 5 minutes so the caramel can get a chance to soak into the cake, before removing the pan. If the topping is sticking to the pan, warm the pan surface over a low burner to loosen the caramel and then pour it over the cake. Let cool completely. Cut into wedges with a serrated knife.
Adapted from Gale Gand’s recipe found on Martha Stewart website.
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