Sunday, 13 April 2014

Medlar and cinnamon upside down cake

This week’s bake turned into a bit of a voyage of discovery that all commenced one lunch time as I passed a Mediterranean greengrocers and saw a box of fruit labelled ‘medlars’.  I suspected they weren’t medlars because the medlars I’d seen were like oversized rosehips.  So I bought some and then went off to do my research (I know that’s the wrong way round – I should have researched first, but that’s just not the way I roll).

I googled medlars and site after site came up with the rosehip-looking type.  Dead end after dead end.  So I put my faith in google; I typed “soft fruit medlars that look a bit like apricots” and bingo!  I asked and the internet delivered.  What I had were loquats aka Japanese medlars aka Japanese/Chinese plums or biwa if you prefer.  It seems to be the fruit of a thousand names!

Mine felt like ripe apricots and the skin peeled off easily without needing to dip the fruit in boiling water.  For this cake I probably could have left the skin on as it’s very thin but I didn’t want to risk it.  The stone comes out easily but I also peeled away the thin white papery layer around it.

They have a beautiful flavour and were really juicy.  Imagine a less gingery mango with elements of orange, peach and apricot and you’d be getting close.  Fruity and sweet at first but finishing with a sharper acidic flavour I really fell for them in a big way and wished I’d come across them sooner.

This upside down cake contains cinnamon and vanilla, two spices that work well with most fruits.  You could serve this cake at room temperature for afternoon tea, or hot with custard or ice cream for dessert.

Here’s to more happy discoveries at the greengrocers!


For the base of the cake:
10-12 medlars, halved, stoned and peeled -  prepared weight 340g
60g unsalted butter
125g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the sponge:
140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, plus 1 white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
75ml milk

To serve: cream, ice cream or custard


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/ gas mark 4.

Use an all-in-one liner for a 20cm round springform tin.  If you don’t have a liner, wrap the outside of the tin in foil as you don’t want anything to leak during baking.

Start by making the base: Place the butter in the cake tin and put into the oven for about 3 minutes or until it has just melted (but isn’t burned or bubbling).

Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Arrange the fruit into the butter mix and put the tin to one side.  I put my medlars cut side down so they sat flush to the tin.

Now make the sponge: beat the butter and sugar until pale and whippy.  Don’t skimp on this stage.

Beat in the eggs one at a time followed by the additional white and vanilla.

Stir in the flour, baking powder and milk and mix until the batter is smooth and well combined.

Spoon over the fruit taking care not to disturb it.

For upside down cakes it’s important that the cake doesn’t ‘dome’ too much whilst baking because, when you turn it out, this will become the bottom.  I manage this by making a dip in the centre and building up the batter around the edge of the cake – during baking this usually settles out to an even layer.

Stand the cake tin on a tray in case the caramel bubbles up and bake for approximately 1 hour but check after 40 minutes to ensure the top isn’t browning too much.  If it is, loosely cover it with foil and continue to bake until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 30mins-1hour in the tin before turning out and leaving to cool completely.  If you’re serving for a dessert turn out after about 10 minutes cooling time.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

Looks lovely and moist. Upside-down cakes of any description are alway delicious in my book, but isn't it great when you discover a totally new fruit to play with?? These sound yum!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

I've never heard of a medler fruit before (insert appropriate joke about a prying, nosy fruit) but I will ask in my greengrocers next time I visits as this looks a lovely juicy sweet fruit

Gloria Baker said...

I love you make this cake with madler fruit, we call here Nísperos and I know them from my childhood, but this year like I said in my post don't was a nice year for fruits! I love you make this lovely cake with nísperos, and I put you a link here if you want see what talk about medler fruit

I saved this récipe for my next summer:)

Susie @ Fold in the Flour said...

The cake looks lovely with all that juicy fruit. I read a very interesting post on David Leibowitz's site about medlars last year - had never heard of them before then! :)

Stuart Vettese said...

Whatever they are called, you have educated me CC - never heard of them. Love that you paired them with cinnamon, my favourite spice.

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Definitely never seen or heard of medlars before but from your description they sound delicious! Looks like a delicious cake too.

Katie said...

Wow what an interesting fruit. Never seen those before but they sound delicious. The stone inside reminds me of a lychee. Well done for finding out what they were

Izzy said...

I have never heard of medlars or seen them before but they look really nice. I love upside down cakes, and your looks especially delicious with the caramely fruit.

Humphrey Addison said...

Absolutely never seen… Looks like a delicious cake too. Lots of cooking school provides cooking classes. Like Cookie basics and advanced cookies, make your own pizza etc

Lucy said...

I don't think I've ever tried medlars let alone baked with them, but your description really makes me want to give them a try. The cake looks gorgeous!

Jo said...

I don't think I've ever heard of or seen medler fruit before! They've certainly produced a very tasty looking cake

Kim said...

I've never heard of medlars either! I might have to hunt them down as this looks like a brilliant cake. I've recently moved and the local supermarket has loads of weird and wonderful fruit and veg that I've never heard of, you've inspired me to check them out and try something different!

Cakelaw said...

What a lovely looking cake. I have never seen medlers or loquats before.

June said...

Ah, if only one could reach through the screen and get a piece. :) That upside cake looks so rich and moist, I could really go for a slice of that right now.

snowy said...

Have heard of medlars, but never seen one. Your cake looks delicious - I love upside down cakes with any fruit.

Choclette said...

Haha, you had me fooled. I was getting all hot under the collar thinking those aren't medlars!!!! Not sure if I've tried loquats or not, but you make them sound well worth the effort.