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Strawberry Brown Butter Upside-Down Cake

  Woah!  Hey there summer, didn't see you sneaking up there.

  Except I totally did.  And I'm totally ready, with a totally awesome cake, that was made for summer mornings and coffee.

  If you're like me, and you don't like coffee...Earl Grey is always the answer.

  I'm going to get down to business here, let me tell you what's what.

  First of all, the only thing that should intimidate you about an upside-down cake is the fact that you will likely eat half of it.  The rest, no biggie.  Easy as...cake.  Upside-down cake.  'Kay whatever.

  Second, upside-down cake can be eaten warm!  No waiting hours for the cake to freaking cool so you can turn it out of the pan.  A quick ten minutes of resting, and the cake is in your belly.  It slides out so beautifully!

  If you're unsure about this whole business, I'm going to walk you through it.  Eyes on the screen, people!

  Friends, we're browning butter.  In the oven, in a cake pan.  Then we're swirling that butter alll over the bottom and sides.  Essentially...we just greased a cake pan with brown butter.  If this isn't the best idea ever...I just dunno.  It soaks into the cake, and creates a gorgeous crust.  Trust!

  While we let that hot cake pan simmer down, we're going to chop our strawberries and mix up our super thick and creamy batter.  Seriously..brown sugar, butter, and sour cream.  Can it get any better?

  Then we layer the brown on the brown.  Brown sugar sprinkled on the brown butter, it's brown heaven.

  Let's add some red to this brown madness...

  ...and then top it off with some more brown.

  Bake it pretty, and let it cool in the pan for ten minutes.

  Run a butter knife around the sides, take a deep breath, and invert onto a pretty cake plate.  Woot!  You're golden!

  Grab yo self some strawberries and whipped cream, you're about to infuse your mouth with a crazy cardamom-strawberry-warm-brown delight.

  Happy (practically) summer.

Strawberry Brown Butter Upside-Down Cake
Yield: one 9-inch or 8-inch cake
Note: You can use either an 8-inch round pan with 3-inch tall sides, or a 9-inch round pan with 2-inch tall sides (I used the latter).

Ingredients for the topping:
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 heaping cup sliced strawberries

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the 2 1/2 tbsp. butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  Keeping a constant eye out, allow the butter to melt and then sizzle.  This is the water cooking out of the butter.  Cook just until the butter is golden and the solids on the bottom are browned, the butter will have a nutty aroma.  Be sure to open up the oven and swirl around the cooking butter once in awhile.  Immediately remove and, using two pot holders, tilt the pan around, coating the sides of the pan with brown butter.  Once sides are coated, set aside the pan to cool down.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the 1/2 cup softened butter and  2/3 cup brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl, and add egg and vanilla extract.  Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape down the bowl, and add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed while adding the sour cream, until the batter just starts to come together but is not completely combined, it will be thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar into the brown butter in the cake pan.  Spread the strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer.  Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes in the pan.  When it's rested, run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert the cake onto a cake plate.  Serve warm with fresh strawberries and sweetened sour cream or whipped cream.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker