Friday, August 17, 2012
INDIVIDUAL GINGER-PEACH UPSIDE-DOWN CAKES
I never was one for gooey sweet pineapple upside-down cake, which is why I resisted making peach upside-down cake. So I tried this recipe, from Alton Brown on Food Network, and I must say I have been missing out all these years. Alton uses candied ginger to flavor the peaches, and it really is a perfect complement. Chopped fine, the ginger is hardly noticeable, yet the subtle lift turns the peaches into something very special.
This is a sweet dessert, but not uber-sweet like pineapple upside-down cake usually is, and it's perfect for a small dinner party. You can top it off with ice cream, sweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche. I chose to very lightly sweeten some non-fat Greek yogurt and, for me, it was perfect.
Alton's recipe calls for about 3 Tbsp. candied ginger, but I used 2 Tbsp, per many reviewers' recommendations. However, the amount will depend on which crystallized ginger you use. Ginger People's (available online) is the best and will be stronger. Other brands may use more sugar on smaller, thinner pieces of ginger and will have less of a ginger bite. I recommend using 2 Tbsp. at first to see how you like the flavors.
The recipe makes 4 cakes. This was just a test, so all I needed was one. Since I was experimenting, I decided to try freezing the other 3. Instead of cooling all the baked cakes for 5 minutes, then turning them over, I left 3 cakes in the ramekins for an additional 5 minutes. The juices were starting to come together by that point. I turned the cakes, cake sides down, onto a wire rack to cool, and there were no juices dripping at that point. It was then easy to place the cooled cakes, peach sides down, into wax-paper-lined containers (empty 5.3 oz. Greek yogurt containers are perfect).
When I removed a frozen cake from the freezer, I found it could stay in the container to thaw on the counter (give it at least 1 hour), then be slid out onto a plate, cake side down. A quick nuke (about 20-25 seconds on high) warmed it up. My experiment was a success and I was able to enjoy these delightful peach upside-down cakes on demand.
Individual Peach Upside-Down Cakes
Adapted from Alton Brown, 2006
Rating: 10 out of 10
Click for PRINTABLE PAGE
Please note: This recipe does not use eggs!
3 Tbsp.softened unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 medium peaches, peeled, cut into 12-14 pieces each
2-3 Tbsp. finely chopped crystallized ginger (I used 2 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup + 1-1/2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (I used 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt + 1/4 cup milk.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract.)
Ice cream, whipped cream, creme fraiche, or sweetened Greek yogurt for serving (optional)
Heat oven to 350F. Grease each of 4 (6-oz.) ramekins with 1/2 Tbsp. butter. In a small custard cup, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. brown sugar evenly into bottoms of each ramekin.
Cut each peach into 12-14 pieces. Lay peaches on top of sugar, evenly dividing them between the ramekins. Sprinkle with ginger, dividing equally among dishes according to amount you use. (For 2 Tbsp. ginger, you will use 1-1/2 tsp. for each ramekin; for 3 Tbsp. ginger, you will use 2-1/4 tsp. for each..) Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and the reserved 1 Tbsp. melted butter. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir gently, just to barely combine (think pancakes, muffins -- do not overmix). Spoon batter over peaches, dividing equally -- about 3 Tbsp. for each.
Place ramekins on a baking sheet and set on middle rack of oven. Bake 20-25 minutes (mine took 23 minutes), or till cakes reach internal temperatures of 190F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer ramekins to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes*
Run a knife around the edge of each dish and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Repeat with each cake. Serve immediately topped with ice cream, whipped cream, creme fraiche or sweetened Greek yogurt, if desired.
*Cook's note: To freeze one or more of the cakes, do the following: Leave cakes on wire rack in ramekins for an additional 5 minutes (total of 10 minutes). Run knife around edges of ramekins, then turn cakes, cake sides down, onto a wire rack to cool. Place cooled cakes, peach sides down, into wax-paper-lined containers (empty 5.3 oz. Greek yogurt containers are perfect). Thaw frozen cakes on the counter in the containers, for at least 1 hour. Unmold cakes onto individual plates, cake sides down. Nuke each cake about 20-25 seconds on high to warm it up.