A little while ago I told my kids that they cannot turn 5. They know I am partly kidding. I love 4 1/2. There are so many things they can do without me and they are cute and inquisitive. It is really the best age.
The other day we went to the zoo. It was me and my two kids and their two teenage cousins. The first thing my kids wanted to do was to get their faces painted. If you have read my blog before, then you have seen the beautiful face painting L received this past Spring. Well, she wanted the same butterfly this time.
And for the first time ever J got his face painted. He is afraid of puppets and characters, so this was a big step. He selected a puppy face painting.
When we got back from the zoo, it was early afternoon and the four kids were playing together so nicely that I had time on my hands. I decided to make the recipe for this week, Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake. The recipe can be found on page 241-243 of Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan. And since I am one of the hosts for this recipe, I have included the entire recipe below. The other host this week is Susan of The Little French Bakery. To read all the blog postings with this Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, please click here.
It starts out with melting butter in a 10″ springform pan. Since I borrowed the pan from my mom and I was not sure how flame-stable it was, I supported it on top of my wok ring. This worked out well.
Next off the heat, I added brown sugar to the pan and pressed it down. (In actuality, it was 7/8 dark brown and 1/8 light brown, because that is all I had.) Then I added the nectarine slices in concentric circles on top.
To prevent seepage the entire bottom of the pan is covered in a single sheet of aluminum foil, which is secured around the top.
Next I made the struesel topping. First I toasted the nuts. The recipe calls for blanched almonds, but I used shelled pistachios.
After cooling, the nuts were added to the other struesel ingredients and then spread out onto a baking sheet to bake for 15 minutes. Again, I substituted light brown sugar for the dark brown sugar specified.
Finally I made the cake batter. The yolks, oil and sugar are blended separate from the egg whites, and then the dry ingredients are added to them. The recipe calls for safflower or vegetable oil, but I used sunflower oil instead. The whites are whipped with some sugar until they form stiff peaks.
Then 1/3 of this mixture is folded into the egg yolk mixture, and then folded back into the egg whites and folded until blended.
To put together the cake, pour 1/2 the batter on top of the nectarines and brown sugar in the pan. Then sprinkle on the struesel, saving about 3 tablespoons for the top decoration. Finally pour on the remainder of the batter and smooth the surface.
The recipe says to cook it for 45-50 minutes. That is not long enough. When I turned the pan in the oven after 35 minutes, I could see the entire cake jiggle. So, I knew it needed to be cooked longer. Mine ended up coming out after 60 minutes. The top was nicely puffed and brown. As it cooled it got a slight depression in the center.
I let it sit for 25 minutes before unmolding it. I pulled out the foil wrapper from around the top of the pan. Next, I put a cake rack on top of the cake pan and inverted it. Then I pulled off the aluminum foil. Good thing it was there because there was a lot of the melted brown sugar that seeped through the pan.
Once the foil and bottom of the pan were removed, you saw the cake.
The final step was to sprinkle on the remaining 3 tablespoons of struesel topping. This really added to the presentation. It looked great!
And it tasted great. This is like my top 3 cake I have ever made. The chiffon was light but held the streusel well. The brown sugar top, combined with the nectarines was sweet. And the pistachios were a good substitution. I think they have more flavor than almonds. Plus I like the little hint of green color. All in all, an excellent cake.
From Baking with Julia
recipe contributed by Mary Bergin
1/2 stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 to 4 ripe medium nectarines, each cut into 8 pieces
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut the butter into 3 or 4 chunks and toss them into a 10-inch-diameter springform pan that’s 3 inches high. Place the pan directly over medium-low heat and melt the butter, tilting the pan so that it covers the bottom evenly. Remove the pan from the heat and scatter the brown sugar evenly over the butter, patting it down with your fingertips. Arrange the nectarine pieces in concentric circles over the sugar. For a fancier effect, alternate the way the nectarines face from circle to circle. Wrap the bottom of the pan in aluminum foil to catch any butter that might drip during baking and set the pan aside.
¼ cup (30 g) unblanched whole almonds*
1/3 cup (42 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 g) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 stick (2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup quick-cooking (not instant) oats
- Put the almonds on an ungreased jelly-roll pan and bake them until golden brown and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently so that they toast evenly. To test for toastiness, break one open-it should be light brown in the center. Cool the almonds before proceeding.
- Line the jelly-roll pan with parchment and keep at the ready.
- Put all of the streusel ingredients, including the almonds, into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and and pulse just to mix the ingredients and chop the almonds and butter. The mixture will be rough and crumbly. Spread the streusel out on the pan and, if you’d like to have a few largish lumps for textural interest (a nice touch), squeeze some of the streusel lightly between your hands and then break the big clumps into smaller bits.
- Bake the streusel for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool while you make the cake. (Keep the oven at 350 degrees)
1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (128 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs, separated
½ cup (107 g) vegetable or safflower oil**
½ cup (121 g) fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites
- Sift together 1 cup of the sugar, the flour, baking powder and baking soda onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper; add the salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, oil and lemon juice until blended. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the yolk mixture, whisking all the while; set aside.
- Beat the 6 whites in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. At low speed, beat the whites until they’re foamy and form very soft peaks. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar, beating until the whites are thick and shiny and hold peaks. (If you run a finger through the whites, it should leave a smooth, even path.) Fold about one third of the whipped egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it, then turn the yolk mixture into the whites and fold it in gently but thoroughly.
- Scrape half of the batter into the fruit-lined pan. Smooth the top, using an offset spatula, and sprinkle over the streusel, keeping a little in reserve (3 tablespoons or so) for decorating the finished cake. Top with the remainder of the batter, smoothing it with the spatula, and place the pan on a jelly-roll pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (could be up to 60 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 25 minutes before inverting it onto a cardboard cake round or cake plate.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream if desired and a dusting of the remaining streusel.
* I substituted pistachios.
**I substituted sunflower oil