A classic upside down apricot and molasses cake which tastes of gingerbread and happiness
There is something so old-fashioned about an upside-down cake; whenever we make this dessert we feel that we should wear long, flowery dresses with embroidered aprons and then serve it with Salada in vintage tea cups and conversation about good books and family values. We’re not actually sure when the first upside-down cake was made, but we’re pretty sure it was a long time ago and that it created quite a happy commotion. Our upside down apricot and molasses cake creates a bit of a fuss too – and it’s all good!
There are many ways to prepare an upside down cake, and various fruits can be used as the base, which then becomes the topping. What almost all these cakes have in common however is the rich, caramelized butter and sugar layer which combines with the fruit to produce a topping which is sticky, sweet, and just plain good. We make this cake with fresh apricots when they are in season, or canned or jarred apricots when they are not. Both are delicious! The flavour is mellow, the texture sublime, and the little concave place where the pit used to be is perfect for placing a maraschino cherry (or perhaps a goji berry if you want to be more
If you are using canned or jarred apricots (as we did in the cake pictured) is is really important that they are thoroughly dry. If they are not, there will be too much liquid in the bottom of your pan which may interfere with the caramelization process, leaving you with a soggy upside down topping. This can even cause some of your apricot halves to remain in the pan after you turn out the cake. This is purely theoretical of course and has never happened to us…we’re food bloggers after all.
There are many varieties of molasses available in most large grocery stores. This upside down apricot and molasses cake calls for a light molasses, which is sweeter than dark molasses because of the way that it is produced. You can definitely use dark molasses if that is what you have on hand, or if you want to cut the sweetness a little bit. What you don’t want to use is blackstrap molasses, which has a bitter and very strong flavour.
We really like to decorate this cake with maraschino cherries; we actually like how they taste and find they make the cake pretty and even more vintage looking. Doing so also reminds us of our parents because they usually use these cherries to top their revani cake. If you would rather not use maraschino cherries however, you can add any small fruit or nut to the center of your apricot halves; blackberries and raspberries would work well, as would candied almonds. You could also choose to leave your cake as is.
Mia Kouppa: Upside down apricot and molasses cake
- 1 can (14 ounces) apricot halves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup light molasses
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Maraschino cherries, optional (but highly recommended)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drain the apricot halves and use a paper towel to pat them dry. Set aside.
- Place 3 tablespoons of the butter into a 9 inch round baking pan and place your pan in the middle rack of your oven for a few minutes, until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the oven and tilt the pan around so that the melted butter is evenly dispersed across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter.
- Place your apricot halves in your pan, cut side down. Arrange them in a single layer and fit them together closely, but leave about 1 centimeter between each apricot half. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the remaining butter and the granulated sugar. Beat together well until well combined and creamy, approximately 3 – 5 minutes at medium speed. Beat in the egg, molasses, and milk until well combined.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add these dry ingredients into your wet ingredients slowly and beat until just well combined.
- Carefully spoon the batter on top of the apricot halves, being careful not to move the around too much. Use the back of a spoon to smooth out the batter.
- Bake in the middle rack of your preheated oven for 50 – 60 minutes; your cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn it over onto a serving platter. Garnish the center of each apricot half with a maraschino cherry if desired.
- Allow your cake to cool and either serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy.