Apricot Upside Down Cake
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 10 or 11 small (2- to 2 1/4-inch) fresh apricots (1 1/4 lb), halved lengthwise and pitted
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
- 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk or whole milk
- Heat butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter, then cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all of sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut sides down, close together on top of brown sugar.
Make cake batter
- Sift together flour, baking powder and soda, and salt into a small bowl.
- Beat together butter, sugar, and extracts in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 3 to 4 minutes with a handheld. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat until mixture is creamy and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat just until combined.
- Gently spoon batter over apricots and spread evenly.
- If your skillet isn't ovenproof, wrap handle with heavy-duty foil (or a double layer of regular foil) before baking. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Wearing oven mitts, immediately invert a large plate over skillet and, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together, invert cake onto plate. Carefully lift skillet off cake and, if necessary, replace any fruit that is stuck to bottom of skillet. Cool to warm or room temperature.
Black Forest Cake
- 1 2/3 cups cake flour
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 cup kirsch
- 1 cup butter
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon very strong coffee
- 2 (14 ounce) cans sweet cherries in heavy syrup, drained
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon kirsch
- 1 ounce semisweet baking chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch round pans with parchment paper circles. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and 1 teaspoons salt. Set aside.
- Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat into flour mixture, alternating with 1 cup buttermilk, until combined. Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool completely. Remove paper from the cakes. Using a thin but sturdy string (dental floss works well), wrap the string around one of the cakes at the halfway mark, horizontally. Tie the string once and pull slowly, cutting through the cake forming two layers. Repeat on other cake. Sprinkle cut side of each layer with kirsch.
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, pinch of salt, and coffee, beat adding buttermilk as needed for consistency. Place first layer of cake on plate(cut side down works best for frosting). Spread with 1/3 of the filling. Top with 1/3 of the cherries. Repeat with remaining layers.
- In a seperate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Beat in 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 TBS kirsch. Frost top and sides of cake. Decorate with chocolate shavings made with a vegetable peeler on chocolate.