For some reason, I don’t think about making upside down cakes too often. It seems to occur to me more just to mix-in whatever fruit I’m thinking about pairing with the cake. But upside down cakes are easy to make and have a lot going for them. They tend to be moist and they really put the fruit flavors front and center in the cake. On top of that – literally! – the cakes never need any frosting because they come out of the oven with their topping all ready to go!
These are mini blueberry upside down cakes, baked in a muffin pan for single-serving portions of cake. I like them because they look cute and they take very little time to bake. They actually look like muffins as they are cooking, with tops rising up above the pan into a nice dome, but they flatten out a bit into more of a cake-like look once they cool down. They also don’t taste quite like muffins, as they are much more cake-like. The cakes are soft and fluffy, more tender and light than a muffin might be. They are not too sweet at all and with a mild flavor of butter and brown sugar. It was nice to have that brown sugar to give the cake a little more depth than a plain white cake would have.
These unmolded easily, and the berries did not stick to the pan. This is another advantage of doing mini cakes because, even though the berries turn out to be sweet and jammy, they didn’t turn into a stick-to-the-pan caramel. These can be served served slightly warm or at room temperature, and are delicious with a dusting of powdered sugar if you want to dress them up a bit.
Little Blueberry Upside-Down Cakes
6 tbsp sugar
3/4-1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease, with butter or oil, 6 muffin cups (6 from a 12-cup pan).
Place 1 tbsp sugar in each greased cup. Add about 2 tbsp blueberries to each cup, making sure that the bottom of each cup is well covered with berries.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, egg and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients and whisk until everything is well-combined and no streaks of flour remain. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each to the top.
Tap pan firmly on the counter several times to knock out some of the air bubbles and ensure that the batter gets down between the blueberries.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached.
Cool cakes in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool before serving.
Makes 6 cakes.