Easy-to-make upside-down cake gets a fresh, seasonal spin courtesy of Utah’s summer bounty.

Upside-down cake was a ’50s staple—the geometric allure of precise pineapple rounds, the chemical brilliance of maraschino cherries and the modern convenience of topping and cake being created simultaneously made this a go-to dessert for the efficient, frilly-aproned housewives of that era.

But upside-down desserts date from before that—think of the French tarte tatin, the inverted caramelized apple pie. American pioneer ladies translated that elegance into a skillet cake, baked in an all-purpose iron frying pan.

Now it’s time for the recipe to morph again and this time you’re in charge. That old recipe turns into a modern treat when paired with the current foodie mantra “think local.” Any fresh fruit can be used to replace the processed pineapple—we chose local peaches and raspberries.

But you can use any of Utah’s summer crops—apricots, plums, blackberries, nectarines, blueberries … the farm’s the limit.

Upside Down Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melt 1/4 cup butter with one cup brown sugar in an iron skillet over low heat. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  • Set aside.
  • Beat together 1/4 cup softened butter and 3/4 cup sugar.
  • Stir in 1 egg.
  • Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsps. baking powder.
  • Stir in 1tsp. vanilla into 1/2 cup milk.
  • Add flour and milk mixtures to the egg alternately and beat until smooth.
  • Peel (or don’t) chosen seasonal fruit, and slice evenly. Arrange fruit over the brown sugar, Use several types of fruits, add nuts if you like and pour batter evenly over the fruit. Bake about 45 minutes. Remove from over and let cool very slightly before inverting onto a heavy plate.
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