Landing Cake

Posted in Recipes, Sweet Treats by ameliadean on May 1, 2010

When my culinary hero, Mark Bittman, published this recipe for a maple pear upside-down cake, I knew it was something I would tweak with. After adding red plums, yellow plums, strawberries, and nectarines into the pear mix and swapping the cup of pricey maple syrup for inexpensive golden syrup, I have made something worth documenting. My favorite thing about this recipe is that it invites experimentation. You can substitute agave syrup, sugar beat syrup, or even honey for the maple syrup. You can use whatever fruits you have lying around– even canned if you are feeling lazy. I added an extra layer to make a proper birthday cake for my darling flatmate Naemi, but there really is no need.


10 tablespoons butter

≈1/2 cup golden syrup

≈1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 pear, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 red plums thinly sliced

2 yellow plums thinly sliced

1 nectarine, thinly sliced

5 strawberries, thinly sliced

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a small pan. Add your choice of syrup and brown sugar. You will need to alter the ratio depending on what ingredients you select. For more watery syrups (like agave), add less syrup and more sugar. For more viscous syrups (like golden syrup), mix the suggested amount of a ½ cup with less brown sugar. The most important things is that you make enough liquid to cover the base of your cake tin.

2. Cook syrup and sugar combination, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. The mixture should cool into a think, pourable paste. When mixture has cooled, pour it into a 9-inch baking pan. Arrange fruit slices in overlapping, concentric circles.

3. With a mixer, beat remaining 8 tablespoons butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, one egg at a time, continuing to mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. If you are making an additional layer, use 16 tablespoons butter, 1 ½ cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 4 large eggs, 2 ½ cups flour, 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt.

4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with milk. (Double the milk quantity if you are making an extra layer.) Do not overmix. Pour and spread the batter over the fruit-lined cake tin, using a spatula to make sure batter is evenly distributed. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and edges begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 to 50 minutes; a toothpick inserted into center should come out clean. Let cake cool for 5 minutes.

5. Run a knife around edge of pan; put a plate on top of cake and carefully flip it so the is on bottom and pan is on top.

Below, Julian documents Naemi, Alexander and I enjoying my delectable creation on the landing of our flat. Happy Birthday Naemi!