Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Upside Down And Ugly

First, let me just say that I, like millions of other people around the world, I cannot WAIT for the World Cup to start. Of course I'll be cheering for Mexico on Friday, but but what I'm really excited about is the England v USA game on Saturday evening. Being an English gal who spent most of her life in the US, I'd like to say I'm a little torn about who to cheer for, but I'm not. That game however, will be the only match that will see me cheering against the States. Unless of course England and the US are both in the final, which let's face it, isn't very likely.

We're going to watch over at my oldest childhood friend's house with her family and we're going to pig out on fish and chips. I'm going to make some red velvet and white chocolate cake balls to take along as treats, so we've got both countries' cuisines covered.  I've never made cake balls before, so if they turn out well, I'll post them. I think it might be fun to theme our coming weekly menus on the teams playing that day, but I might get a little opposition from my picky eater husband who doesn't like football. (I know, you're thinking "Tell us again why you married him?")

So anyway, the coming months promises to be exciting and interesting both for the footie and for the food. Historically, I'm not my most productive during the World Cup, but at least I can post recipes during half time.
Now, on with today's recipe....

It's such a shame that strawberries lose their vibrant red colour when they're baked, instead turning into something that looks like it should be bandaged and given antibiotics.

I actually made this upside down cake because I had a can of apricots that were taking up precious space in my store cupboard and I wanted to use them up. I had bought some fantastic vanilla beans at the London Foodie Festival and thought that the three flavours of vanilla, apricot and strawberry would make a lovely, summery combination and I was right.

This is lovely served either chilled or at room temperature and is delicious with ice cream.

Apricot, Strawberry and Vanilla Upside Down Cake
serves 8-12, takes 1 hour, 20 mins +cooling

1 can halved apricots in fruit juice
400g (14oz) fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
250g (1/4lb) unsalted butter, softened
250g (1/4lb) plain flour
4 large eggs, room temp
250g (1/4lb) golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large vanilla bean
1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
1 tbsp flavourless veg oil
2 pinches, salt

Preheat the oven to 170C (340F) and grease a deep pie dish or casserole with butter.
Place the strawberries and apricot halves round-side-down in the bottom of the dish and heat the juice from the can of apricots in a small saucepan, reducing to the consistency of maple syrup.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or with electric beaters for 4-5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs in, one at a time and beat in well between each addition, then beat in the oil and the pinch of salt.
Scrape the contents of the vanilla bean into the bowl and add the vanilla extract, beating well to combine.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and soda and mix well enough to combine thoroughly, but not longer than necessary, so as not to toughen the final product.

Pour the fruit juice syrup over the fruit in the dish and scrape in the cake batter. Spread it out evenly, with a slight depression in the centre, to compensate for the rise.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and there is no more bubbling.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool completely before turning it out onto a large plate.

Put on an Astrud Gilberto CD and have a nibble in the garden.


  1. Emily,
    Your cake looks delicious. A great way to celebrate summer fruit. And yes...I'm thrilled that the World Cup is starting this weekend.

  2. My father used to be a sportswriter, and he really did have a very good opportunity to get me REALLY into sports, especially football (I think the word "soccer" is silly but since I'm in America I have to refer to it as such, but it's nice not having to say it on here :P) since he played it in high school and college, but for some reason he didn't so I'm horribly clueless when it comes to many sports. Wish I understood it and I've had the rules of football, American football, hockey, baseball, basketball and other sports I'm sure explained to me several times over the years but I always forget. :P

    The cake looks wonderful, and I agree that it's a shame that strawberries lose their color but at least they don't lose their flavor! :)

  3. Hi Emily
    your cake looks wonderful, I'm sure the flavor is outstanding! and strawberries are what they are don't worry! My niece and her father are going to the world cup, she played soccer most of her life and its a nice trip for them to spend some time together after her first year in college......time goes by so quickly!

  4. This cake looks good, despite the fact that you say the strawberries resemble a hemorrhage. Nice change from pineapple upside down cake, which is an American classic.

  5. I want this right now!! Sounds and looks delicious, thanks for the recipe. I hate pineapples, so this makes me really happy!

  6. Hey Emily! This cake sounds so delicious, and I can see how moist it is from the photo. I can't say that I'm a soccer fan though, or a fan of any sport for that matter. I wish I could enjoy stuff like that, but I just don't...
    I hope your'e doing well and have fun with the game watching.

  7. USA wins!!! Or at least that's how I'm going to look at it.

    My favorite part of the game: the look on Beckham's face after Green's error. Poor Green. I can't even imagine the verbal thrashing he must be getting round your parts lately.

  8. tried this cake, it was wonderful...I can't seem to stop baking with berries this time of the year.

  9. upside down and beautiful! THis is a keeper...thanks! Just found your blog and I can't wait to go through your posts!

  10. Hey, Emily, just wanted to let you know I passed on some blog awards to you! :)

  11. Hey! Where is you? Where is you?
    I hope your'e okay, Emily. I miss reading your funny stuff. Hope all is well...

  12. What Stella said :)

    Hope you're up and posting again soon, Emily <3

  13. Hey, just thinking about you. I feel like a stalker (smile). I suppose I 'online miss you'.
    Hope your'e okay. Stella

  14. Hey sugar!
    I'm sorry I haven't been around or even checked in!
    Life has conspired to keep me ridiculously busy this month. Between work, the World Cup and hubs being out of town (and so I'm a taxi service to stepson and friends) I have been really busy and very tired. I should be back up and running next week though.
    Thanks for the notes and kid words, I miss you too!!

  15. Hey, Emily! Just checking in. We all miss you and hope doing well. :)

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