Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake

{Apologies for the lack of quality pictures in this post — I had to sneakily take pictures while we were running around prepping for our event}

This cake was the dish I made for the event my garde manger class put on at the end of the quarter.

Any stone fruit would be fine for this cake. We decided on peaches, but you could use nectarines, cherries, apricots, plums, etc. This cake pairs perfectly with some freshly made vanilla bean ice cream. So, so good.

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This recipe is from Rustic Fruit Desserts, a really wonderful fruit dessert book written by my instructor, James Beard award winning, Chef Cory Schreiber. I had a great time in his class this summer, he’s so knowledgeable about all Pacific Northwest foods and was always willing to answer any questions we had about the various foods we were using.

If you’re looking for a new, fun cake to make this is a great one. Super easy, really tasty. It would even make a good addition to any future brunches you might be thinking of :)

The ice cream we served with this was another recipe of Chef Schreiber’s and I’ll be sure to share that with you soon.

Enjoy!

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Stone Fruit Upside-Down Cornmeal Cake:
Serves 8

Ingredients:

Fruit Topping: 

  • 4 small stone fruits, such as apricots, plums or pluots (I used peaches)
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (3 3/4 oz.) packed brown sugar

Cake: 

  • 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz.) fine cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (4 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Slice fruit in half and remove the pits. Thinly slice the fruit.
  3. To prepare the fruit topping for individual cakes, distribute the melted butter among eight 5-ounce ramekins, brushing the butter up onto the sides of the ramekins. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar into each ramekin, then place fruit on top of the sugar. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
  4. Alternatively, to prepare the fruit topping for a single large cake, melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and blends with butter to form a caramel. Remove from the heat and arrange the fruit on top of the caramel.
  5. To make the cake, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer wit the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  6. Distribute the batter evenly among the ramekins (about 1/4 cup per cake) on top of the fruit, or transfer all of the batter to the skillet and gently spread it evenly over the fruit. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes for individual cakes or 45 minutes for the skilller, or until the center of the cake springs back lightly when touched. Allow the individual cakes to cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto plates; the larger cake will need 20 minutes to cool before you flip it over.

End of Summer Classes

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It’s so hard to believe my next two weeks of class consist of finals and deep cleaning the school kitchens!

These last 9 weeks have gone so fast and I’ve had so much fun in both of my classes.

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I’ve made all kinds of cakes and mousses in my European Cakes class and in Garde Manger I’ve made everything from soups & salads to sandwiches and cold seafood dishes.

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Speaking of Garde Manger, our final is a fundraiser for a local organization and my class is responsible for all of the food. We’re doing little small dishes — things that can be eaten in one or two bites. We did a run-through of everything last week and its all going to be so good!

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I’m responsible for making peach upside-down cake and vanilla bean ice cream. I wouldn’t consider myself a peach fan, but this cake might have changed that. Delicious. The recipe is from my instructor and I’ll be sure to share it with you all once classes have wrapped up. You’ll love it.

I’ve been up to a lot over that last few weeks. Spending time downtown in my friend’s apartment while she’s been in Europe has made me never want to leave. I might take the leasing agent up on his offer to stay in the broom closet and be the building’s baking slave. Maybe.

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Had a girls night with two of my dearest friends about a week ago. We may or may not have consumed almost and entire bottle of gin. No shame. We laughed, talked, danced, dreamed and ate bread and cheese. It was pretty much the perfect night and I have some of the best friends in the world.

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Also made these Joy the Baker apple pie biscuits on Friday. These squares of yum are the second in her Baking Bootcamp partnership with King Arthur Flour. I don’t think I’ve ever made biscuits this easy before. The filling is an apple, cinnamon, brown sugar dream and it has made me so excited for autumn to come around and all the wonderful thing to be baked during that season. These biscuits were a hit! I’ll have a post up soon about how I made them and the fun Mary and I had doing it. You all should definitely try it.

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I hope the end of your summers are wrapping up nicely. I’m ready to get rid of the 90° days we’re having here in Portland and welcome Autumn with open arms.

Butterscotch M&M Cookies

Let’s talk cookies.

Specifically, these killer butterscotch M&M cookies.

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These cookies were a hit with everyone I gave them to. I’m staying at my friend’s apartment while she’s traveling through Europe, so I have lots of people to test all of my recipes on. I gave a plate to her neighbours (literally the sweetest people in the world) and took them to the guys that work downstairs.

One of the guys that works down there, Zach, ate an entire plate by himself. In one day. Even the guy that (kindly) refuses our food when we offer it to him had one. So I’m going to go ahead and toot my own horn about these little suckers.

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These are colourful, vibrant, sweet, soft and I think they taste even better the day after you bake them.

They are also incredibly easy to make. And bonus – if you get a big enough bag of M&M’s, you can have some to snack on while you’re baking. I fully support that.

Just make sure you have enough for your cookies.

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This recipe will make quite a few cookies, depending on how big or small you make them.

Try not to eat them all at once :)

Butterscotch M&M Cookies: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. hot water
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/2 cups M&M’s

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla extract. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. Add to batter along with the salt & cream of tartar.
  3. Add the flour, one cup at a time, making sure its incorporated before adding the next cup. Finally, add the butterscotch chips and M&M’s and stir to disperse throughout the batter.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls (I like to use a cookie scoop) onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.

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