Nothing says summer like nectarines. I got some in my produce delivery box last Friday along with this delightful recipe for Nectarine Upside Down Cake. It sounded so good that I was not deterred by the 10 tablespoons of butter, 2 eggs and Greek yogurt that it called for. And, I will add, my substitutions more than carried their weight. The cake was light yet buttery, with caramelized, crispy edges and a tender crumb. The nectarines turned out more like cobbler filling than the sticky, almost hard, fruit we’re accustomed to in these kinds of cakes, but I sort of liked it that way. If you prefer a more traditional upside down cake rather than a cobbler-cake, you may try cutting the nectarines into thin slices rather than fat chunks like I did. We ate it plain for dessert last night, but it would be great with some vanilla ice cream.
Now, for a story…
Have I told you yet about my produce delivery service? Every Friday I get a box delivered to my apartment in the wee small hours of the morning, while it’s still cold outside, so the produce doesn’t wilt or spoil. I subscribe through Full Circle which used to be a CSA but now is more of an online grocery store. Full Circle Farms still exists as such and supplies deliveries with local produce when it’s in season. You can choose what to include or exclude from your order. And, I have a nice personal connection with the company: when I was small, my mom would take me to the University District farmer’s market in the summer where Full Circle sold mostly salad greens and spinach.
Now, this was before farmer’s markets started popping up all over the place, before Safeway carried much organic produce, and before “local” was a thing that very many people thought or cared about. We’d weave our way through hippies and three-legged dogs, past drum circles and hacky-sackers, to the Full Circle produce tent. I looked forward to this (and, I suspect, my mother did a little too) because the guy working there looked exactly like Sully from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Tan skin, soil under his finger nails, shoulder-length tangled hair bleached by the sun, wearing Carharts like he meant it–this is what organic meant to me. And maybe I’ve been inspired to stick with an organic lifestyle because I have a sexy subconscious association. Who knows. At any rate, their produce is just as good now as always, although I haven’t had a chance yet to meet the delivery guy. I think it’s just as well. A girl needs to be able to dream.
And so, I present to you, Nectarine Upside Down Cake with a side of childhood crush. Please enjoy.
Nectarine Upside Down Cake
Time commitment: 1 1/2 hrs
Makes: one 9.5″ round cake
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 6 tablespoons water
- 10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (or any kind of vegan butter)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3-4 nectarines, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small mixing cup or bowl, add lemon juice to soy milk. Stir and set aside. It will thicken and stand in for buttermilk or yogurt. You could, alternatively, just use plain non-dairy yogurt. Totally up to you.
- In a jar with a lid, shake flax seeds and water together vigorously and set aside. These are your “eggs.”
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare nectarines. Cut 4 tablespoons of your shortening into chunks and place into a 9.5″ glass baking dish. Melt in oven, then spread evenly in pan, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Arrange nectarines in an even layer on top.
- In a small to medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.
- In a larger mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat remaining “butter” till fluffy. Add sugar and beat. Add flax “eggs” and beat. Add vanilla and beat some more.
- Alternate stirring in flour and milk/yogurt till well combined. Pour over nectarines and spread in an even layer. Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes, or till golden brown and bubbling. Cool for 15 minutes, run a knife around the edge to loosen cake, and invert on a large serving plate. Leave it alone till all the nectarines fall onto the top of the cake. Remove pan, cool for a bit longer, and serve. Cover with plastic and refrigerate to store.