If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed my fondness for upside-down cakes. I like the combination of caramelized fruity layer and cake so much, that I constantly come up with new ways to prepare it. This time I was lucky to have found beautiful fresh quince and Meyer lemons, so I’ve decided to use both in one cake.
Unlike most of my upside-down cakes, this one requires a bit of make-ahead preparations, as quince is not the kind of fruit that will soften only while baking. While preparing the quince for cooking, I thought that it would be a good idea to cook the sliced Meyer lemon with it, and indeed the aromas of both were mixed beautifully right from the beginning.
This tasty cake is so perfect for the holiday season, I plan to bake it again soon. I’m sure you will too, once you’ll try it.
* The quince and Meyer lemon can be cooked a day in advance. Keep covered in the fridge and bring to room temperature before using
* Meyer lemon is a wonderful cross between citron, mandarin and orange. If you can’t find it, you can use thin skinned orange instead, and add a bit of regular lemon zest to the cake.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time for the quince and Meyer lemon: 40 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes
For the candied quince and Mayer lemons:
2 large quince, cores removed, cut into thick sections
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup honey (preferably orange blossom)
1 medium Meyer lemon, sliced
5-6 cardamom pods, lightly crashed
1 stick cinnamon
For the top layer:
½ stick (55 grams) butter, soft
¼ cup sugar
For the batter:
¾ cup whole milk, at room temperature
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice (from 1 medium)
1 stick (115 grams) butter, soft
2 L eggs
Zest from 1 medium Meyer lemon
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1. Place the quince in a large wide pot and add the sugar and honey. Arrange the Meyer lemon slices on top and add the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Add enough water just to cover. Cover the pot and bring to the boil on medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes. Uncover the pot, lower the heat to medium and cook for about 30 minutes, tilting the pot occasionally, until the quince is pinkish and soft but still keeps its shape, and the lemon slices are candied. Bring to room temperature before using.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Spread the butter for the fruit layer over the bottom of a 9½” (24cm) deep cake pan. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter. Keep in the fridge until using.
3. The batter: mix the milk and lemon juice and let stand for 5 minutes, until it sours. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, sugar and zest. Add the soured milk and mix. Add the vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to a smooth batter.
4. Arrange the candied lemon slices on top of the sugar layer in the pan. Add the cooked quince on top of it. Pour the batter over the fruit layer, from the center out, and level with a spatula. Don’t spread the batter all the way to the sides of the pan – this will make it easier to release the cake from the pan after baking.
5. Bake for 50 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Take out of the oven and let the cake stand for 1 minute in the pan.
6. Place a plate (the size of the pan or bigger) on top of the pan. Using oven mitts (remember, the pan is still hot!) hold both the plate and pan together, and turn the pan upside down onto the plate. Carefully, remove the pan. If some bits still stick to the pan, scrape them gently and add to the top of the cake. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.