Cherry Upside-down Cake

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If you know me at all, you’d know that upside-down cakes are my absolute favourite. You never really know what they’re going to look like until they come out of the pan. Maybe that’s why I love them. Finding that beautiful layer of caramelised sugar and fruit on top of the cake is magical. Every single time. Even more magical when the fruit in question is cherries.

Ingredients:

  1. 40 g salted butter
  2. 80 g dark muscovado sugar
  3. 250 cherries (halved and pitted)
  4. 200 g  all purpose flour
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  7. ¼ teaspoon salt
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 125 g salted butter (softened)
  10. 165 g granulated sugar
  11. 2 eggs (room temperature)
  12. 150 ml greek yogurt (room temperature)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Line a 9 inch round springform pan with butter and cover the bottom of the pan with baking paper (I used a sheet pan for this recipe, but if you want to ensure your cake comes out in one piece, go with a springform pan).
  2. In a small saucepan, melt together the 40 g butter and muscovado sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until combined and sugar is melted.
  3. Spread the caramel over the baking paper in the bottom of the pan. Place the cherry halves cut side down over the caramel.
  4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then mix in the vanilla.
  6. Alternately add in the flour and yogurt. Fold together until combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, over the cherries. Smooth the top.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Check the cake at the 25 minute mark and cover the cake with foil if  the top seems to be browning too much.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. After the 5 minutes, remove the cake from the pan. Serve warm with ice cream.

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Spiced Chocolate Crème Caramel

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This fall I have been loving everything warm and spicy. Everything that brings comfort – that warm, fuzzy feeling. And there’s something about this spiced chocolate crème caramel that makes it absolutely perfect for October’s stormy days. A dark just-set custard, fragranced with soft undertones of cardamom and cinnamon, served in a pool of bitter caramel. It’s a dessert that is rich and indulgent, yet mellow and light.

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients:

For the caramel:

  1. 65 g sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon cold water
  3. ⅔ tablespoon hot water

For the chocolate custard:

  1. 1½ cups whole milk
  2. 1½ tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 vanilla bean, split
  4. 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  5. 2 black pepper pods, crushed
  6. 1 cinnamon stick
  7. 60 g dark chocolate
  8. 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Coat the insides of 4 ramekins with cooking oil.
  2. To make the caramel, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and cold water over low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, swirl the pan occasionally until the caramel has reached a dark golden colour.
  3. Remove from heat and add in the cold water to stop the cooking.
  4. Pour the caramel equally into the 4 ramekins. Do this quickly as the caramel will start to set. In case the caramel has hardened, heat it again for a few seconds until it reaches a pouring consistency. Set the ramekins aside.
  5. In a larger saucepan, add the milk, vanilla bean + seeds, cardamom pods, black pepper pods and cinnamon stick. Let the milk come to a light boil and remove from the heat.
  6. Add in the chopped chocolate and whisk together.
  7. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.
  8. Once cool, sieve the mixture.
  9. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate milk and mix until combined. If there is any foam on top, use a spoon to skim it.
  10. In a deep baking tray, place the ramekins and then pour in the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the baking tray. Cooking these in a bath ensures even cooking.
  11. Bake for 50 minutes. A good way of testing if they are done is to giggle the ramekins. The centre should be almost set, not fully.
  12. Let the ramekins cool completely and then set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  13. To un-mould, dip the ramekins in hot water for a few seconds. Then run a knife along the edge of the custard and flip onto a plate.

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