Blueberry-Fig Upside-Down Cake

A very dear friend gave me a magazine the other day after she had finished with it.  It is loaded with some pretty amazing recipes!  One section of the magazine has 8 recipes for figs!  I was excited to see this, for we will soon have quite an abundance of this particular fruit.  As most of you know, I usually do not follow recipes exactly, but experiment with them to make them unique.  This one is no different.  It turned out pretty well even though I did have a minor fail with it.  I have now learned that it is not a good idea to use a spring-form pan when making an upside-down cake!  The recipe called for a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch high sides.  My cake pan is not that high, so without much thought at all, I figured that my spring-form pan would work…bad idea!!  Some of the butter and brown sugar leaked out of the pan!  Thankfully I had put the pan on a round pizza pan while it baked, so the mess did not go all over my oven!  The cake tasted very good, but would have been much moister if I hadn’t lost half of the topping!

1 stick butter

1/2 c. packed brown sugar

2 tbsp. honey

10-15 fresh figs (I used frozen and it was just fine!)

25-30 blueberries

1 c. shortening

3/4 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 c. flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. milk

Lightly spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides.  Cut a circle of waxed paper the size of your pan  and lay it in the pan. Lightly spray the paper.  Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in brown sugar and honey.  Cook, stirring often until the sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. Pour sauce into prepared pan.  Place the figs, cut side down in the pan, making a circle in the middle and 5-6 half circles around the edges.  Put 4-5 blueberries inside the circles of figs. *(at this time, you could also sprinkle finely chopped pecans over the fruit.)

In a large bowl, beat shortening, sugar, vanilla, and eggs until creamy, about 4-5 minutes.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Add half to the shortening mixture and beat until mixed.  Add half the milk and continue beating.  Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk.  Batter should be thick.  Spoon over figs and blueberries in prepared pan being careful to seal around the edges.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool pan on wire rack for about an hour.  Invert onto a serving plate and remove waxed paper.  Let cool completely.

Chocolate Lover’s Delight

If you’ve read through my other posts, especially those at the start of this process, you remember that I have over 70 cookbooks in my possession.  My very first cookbook was a Betty Crocker cookbook that I got one Christmas while in college.  My second cookbook came from my sister about 23 years ago.  It is called “Great Desserts” and it is full of just that. . .great desserts! It was in this cookbook that I found a chocolate cake recipe that I first made for my husband when we were dating.  Because of the time it takes to make this cake, I haven’t made it since!  But on the occasion of his 50th birthday last weekend, I figured it was about time to make it again.   For my chocolate-loving husband on his special day, this was a no-brainer!  Hope you give it a try.  Your family will love it.

CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE-CHIP FUDGE CAKE

Cake Layers:

1 stick plus 2.2/3 tbsp. butter, at room temperature

2 c. sugar

3 eggs

2 c. sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1-1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1-1/2 c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. chocolate syrup

Fudge Filling:

2/3 c. sugar

1/2 c heavy cream

2-1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 c. Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Cream

2-1/2 c. heavy cream

3-1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

7 tbsp. powdered sugar

3-4 tbsp. chocolate syrup, room temperature

Prepare the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with waxed paper; butter and flour the pans; tap out any excess flour.  In mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until smooth. One at a time, beat in the eggs until well blended.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the egg mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, mixing only until blended. Blend in the vanilla and chocolate syrup.  Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake until the tops of the cakes are springy to the touch, 40-45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set on racks to cool for 30 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and unmold. Peel off the waxed paper. Set the cakes on a rack and let cool completely.

Prepare the Filling: Combine the sugar, cream, chocolate, and corn syrup in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat, dot the top with the butter, and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. When cool, stir in the butter until the fudge filling is smooth and creamy.

Prepare the Chocolate Cream: Beat the cream and cocoa until soft peaks form. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff.

Assemble the Cake: Cover one cake layer with all of the fudge filling. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Spread 1/2 cup of chocolate cream on top of the chips. Top with the second cake layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with half of the remaining chocolate cream. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

Serving: Drizzle chocolate syrup over cake in criss-cross design. Allow to drip down the sides of the cake.  Cut into slices and serve with vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

Serves 12-15.