Tiny Blueberry Upside-Down Cakes

1 08 2009


Sweet mother of kitchen gods, I do believe this tiny cakes thing is becoming an obsession. 

I’m easily obsessed, though. Right now it’s British murder mysteries and vintage Pyrex. It used to be fake grapes (they were dangling from every surface of my warehouse studio apartment some years ago). I have an ongoing obsession with bikes, of course. And I can’t stop thinking about those red patent leather Dansko sandals that I really want. I’m also constantly fighting my turkey sandwich obsession (really, you shouldn’t eat a turkey sandwich EVERY DAY, should you?). Thank god I haven’t crossed the line to obsession with bank robberies or heroin. 

So, I had these tiny pans sitting around (another estate sale find!). Small, ring-shaped. Maybe like little jello molds? I also had a BUNCH of blueberries. I noticed one day that the blueberries would nestle perfectly in the bottom of the pans, like this:

waitingpansAnd I wondered if tiny blueberry upside-down ring cakes might not be the most adorable thing I’d ever seen. 

I only had three of these pans, but the recipe I found in (where else?) Small-Batch Baking made enough batter to fill four of these pans. So the fourth cake was made in a ramekin. The result? Well… the one in the ramekin turned out well! Okay, they all tasted great, but I definitely didn’t get the effect I was going for. See, I think the tiny ring-shaped pans weren’t big enough for the amount of batter needed to really hold the cakes together. So when I unmolded them, I had me some busted cakes. So sad, those busted cakes. They tasted great, because is there really such a thing as BAD CAKE? But they didn’t really have that traditional upside-down cake thing going on.

At least, the ones in the ring pans didn’t, but the one in the ramekin did. That one, people, that one was fantastic. Moist cakey. bottom part, with a layer of sticky blueberry goo (sweet, but not overly-sweet). If there is a heaven, it’s like the top part of that cake. 

The recipe in Small-Batch Baking suggests a vanilla creme fraiche be plopped on the top. I didn’t have the right ingredients for that, so I stirred some vanilla into some plain yogurt, and then piled on some fresh blueberries to brighten things up. I actually liked this combination – I thought the tang of the yogurt was a nice complement to the sweet cake. 

If you want to make these, I suggest only making two of them, and making them in ramekins or maybe a muffin tin. I think that would give you a better batter to blueberry ratio, which would prevent busted cake syndrome. 


They looked so pretty, until they busted.

They looked so pretty, until they busted.



Blueberry Upside-Down Cakes (from Small-Batch Baking)

2 Tbs butter 

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup blueberries (I used fresh, but frozen-then-thawed would work, too)

1/3 cup plus 1 tsp sugar

1/4 cup buttermilk (I used yogurt)

Yolk of one large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare pans (ramekins or jumbo muffin tins) by greasing and flouring them. Then cut out four rounds of parchment paper to fit in the bottoms of them (yes, four!). Place TWO rounds in the bottom of each pan, then grease and flour the top layer of the parchment paper. Don’t skimp on this step, or you will be a victim of BUSTED CAKE SYNDROME.

Place blueberries and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl and mix. Then divide the blueberries evenly into the bottoms of the pans. 

Now mix buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, along with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Add the butter (make sure it’s softened) and 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture. Beat with an electric mixer until the batter lightens in color and increases somewhat in volume. Debby says it should take about 45 seconds. Add the remaining buttermilk mixture, and blend with the mixer. 

Spoon the batter over the blueberries in the pans. Bake for 20 – 24 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for five minutes, then invert pans and pop cakes onto plates. Peel off the parchment (because it will probably stick to the blueberry goo, and you don’t want to eat parchment paper. Or maybe you do.). Enjoy with creme fraiche, or yogurt, or alone, or with whatever your favorite obsession is.




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