By Eileen Goltz
I am often asked to give cooking classes for the 10 to
12 year old age group. This is the perfect age to ease up on the "hands on"
approach to cooking to the "let them do as much as they can by themselves
and pray they don't destroy the kitchen" approach. This is the age were
children can actually help more than hinder when it comes time to get all
the food ready for dinner, Shabbat or what ever
holiday happens to be looming large on the calendar. This is also the age
where you can be reasonably assured that what ever they create will be
edible and that success with a few simple recipes will wet their appetite to
move on to the more complicated recipes that they will need to know in order
to move out on their own and not live on a diet of junk food or starve to
One of the first recipes I give to my classes is the
upside down cake. Done right, it's a work of art, done wrong; it looks funny
but still tastes good. Everyone always succeeds on some level with this type
of cake so it's really a perfect first choice for a budding chef.
Upside-down cakes, no matter what their particulars, have the same basic
components. Butter/margarine, sugar and fruit become caramelized as they
bake in a cake pan under a layer of batter. The cake is inverted before
serving, and the glazed fruit becomes the top of the cake. Upside-down cakes
originally were made not in cake pans, but rather in well-used cast-iron
skillets and were affectionately and originally called skillet cakes.
The following recipes are all (except one) very easy
and can be frozen if you want to make them ahead of time. I suggest that, if
working with children, you have them read the recipe through 2 or 3 times
before they tackle it, making sure they understand all the steps needed to
insure a successful out come. Cooks will find upside-down cakes extremely
versatile because almost any fruit can be used interchangeably. Many of the
recipes can be converted from dairy to pareve but there are a few
ingredients (like buttermilk) that there just aren't any really great
CAKE MIX UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (dairy or pareve)
|1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar, packed well
1 can peach or apricot slices -- (30oz)
|Maraschino cherries --
1 box white cake mix
Whipped cream, optional
Preheat oven to 350. Pour the oil into a 9X13 pan and
sprinkle the brown sugar evenly in pan over the oil. Drain the peaches,
reserving syrup. Arrange the peaches slices and cherry halves on top of the
sugar mixture. Add enough water to peach juice to make 1 1/3 cups of liquid.
In a bowl combine the liquid and 2 eggs to cake mix. Mix well and pour the
batter over the fruit. Bake in a preheated oven for 50 minutes or until cake
pulls away from sides of pan. Let stand 5 minutes then turn upside down onto
a cake dish or large platter. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Serves 8 to 12.
BLUEBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (dairy or pareve)
|2 cup fresh or fresh
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
|1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup milk or non dairy substitute
2 cups flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Sweetened whipped cream or non dairy topping
Grease and flour a 9 inch spring form pan. Preheat
oven to 350. In a bowl combine the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons
flour and lemon rind. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and 1 cup sugar. Beat
until fluffy. Add the eggs and extracts to the mixer and mix to combine.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and then add it to the
egg mixture alternating it with the milk/non dairy substitute until just
moistened. Pour the batter over the blueberries and spread it evenly, making
sure to combine the blueberries into the batter. Bake 60-70 minutes or until
a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let sit in pan about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan,
then place a serving plate over top of pan; carefully invert cake and plate
together. Remove sides from cake pan and carefully take off the bottom of
the cake pan, making sure to scrape off any blueberry that sticks. Serve
warm, topped with almonds. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream or non dairy
topping as desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.
PINEAPPLE MACADAMIA UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (dairy or pareve)
butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup toasted, chopped macadamia nuts (or pecans)
7 fresh pineapple rings, cut 1/4 inch thick (or canned rings, drained,
1 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk or non dairy substitute
1/4 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. For topping, pour the 1/4 cup
butter or margarine into a 9-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle the pan with the
brown sugar and nuts, shifting it from side to side to cover the bottom.
Place one pineapple ring in the center of the pan over nuts. Cut remaining
rings in half and arrange in a circular pattern. Set the prepared pan aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and
salt. Mix well and then add the milk/non diary substitute, butter/margarine,
egg and vanilla. Blend at low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Beat 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Pour
the batter evenly over the pineapple in the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45
minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the
pan cool on a rack for about 2 to 3 minutes. To remove, run knife around
edges of pan. Invert the cake onto serving plate; remove pan. Serve warm or
at room temperature. Garnish with whipped cream if desired. Serves 8 to 10.
CHOCOLATE PECAN UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (dairy)
A little more complicated than your average upside
down cake but the end result is worth the extra effort. The use of cake
flour in this recipe is a must. It gives a finer texture and a lighter
density to the cake.
|1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
2 1/4 cup cake flour (yes you must use cake flour in this recipe)
2 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup shortening of choice
|1 cup water
1-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
Whipped cream topping
1 cup whipping cream,
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 3 round pans, 9 x 1-1/2 inches. In a
medium saucepan, heat brown sugar, butter and whipping cream over medium
heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Divide among pans;
spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cake flour, sugar, sour cream,
shortening, water, baking soda, salt, vanilla, baking powder, eggs and
melted baking chocolate. Mix, on low speed for 30 seconds. Then when the
ingredients are combined, beat on high speed 3 minutes. Pour batter over
pecans in the 3 pans; spread to cover evenly.
Bake at 350. for 22 to 25 minutes, staggering cake pans in oven on middle
racks for even heat flow. Cake layers are done when top springs back when
touched lightly. Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes. Turn upside down
onto wire racks; let pans sit on top of the cakes for a few minutes before
removing pans. Cool completely.
While the cakes are cooling make the whipped cream topping: Combine the
whipped cream, powdered sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl of an electric
mixer and beat, on high speed until the cream is stiff. Place the topping in
the refrigerator until ready to assemble the cake.
Place 1 layer, pecan side up, on cake plate. Spread with a third of the
Whipped Cream Topping. Repeat with remaining layers. Garnish top of cake
with a circle of pecan halves. Store covered in the refrigerator.
PEACHY GINGERBREAD UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
|4 cup. peeled, coarsely
chopped ripe peaches
2 tablespoon. light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
|2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9-inch round
cake pan. In a large bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar and lemon
juice. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake pan, and spread it in an
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and
ginger. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and
molasses, and mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients alternately with
buttermilk, mixing to form a thick, smooth batter. Spread batter evenly over
Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool 5 minutes; then invert the cake onto a large serving platter. Serve
warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
CARAMELIZED PEAR AND ALMOND UPSIDE DOWN CAKE (pareve)
My girlfriend Donnie's mother made this recipe for us
when we were little girls and I serve it anytime I want to feel like a kid
|1 cup (4 oz.) blanched
2/3 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (divided)
1 cup granulated sugar
|2 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices
Preheat oven to 350. In food processor fitted with
metal blade, process almonds until they are ground fine, almost like bread
crumbs. In medium bowl, combine ground almonds, flour and baking powder.
Stir to blend. With electric mixer on medium speed or in food processor
fitted with metal blade, beat 6 tablespoons of the butter until softened.
Gradually beat in sugar and continue to beat mixture until it is thick and
pale. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Gradually beat
in flour mixture and orange juice, mixing just to combine. Set aside.
To prepare pears: In well-seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet, melt remaining
2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar, stir to
dissolve, and cook until bubbly. Add pear slices in single layer. Cook in
the syrup for about 2 minutes a side, or until both sides are lightly
caramelized. (Use tongs to move them around.) Be careful syrup does not
become too dark. Pears will exude juice and help to keep caramel from
burning. Remove from heat and let cool 3 minutes.
Pour batter over pear mixture and gently spread it around to cover pears.
Bake in preheated oven 50 to 60 minutes, or until skewer inserted in center
of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven. Let cool in skillet 10 minutes,
then invert onto a cake plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to
Goltz, a professional chef and caterer, is the author of the new
cookbook, Perfectly Pareve.
© Eileen Goltz 2003