Making an upside down cake always makes me feel like a 50's housewife (no, I do not wear an apron). Which is strange since the history of these cakes, also known as skillet cakes, extends further in the past and is not even unique to Americana. The British had their Tansey, the French have Tarte Tatin (one of my favorites by the way), etc. History and culture aside, upside down "cakes" are ingenious, self-gilding and gloriously delicious. Give this gluten free peach upside down cake a try. Don't be intimidated by the lengthy ingredient list. Remember, it is comprised of three simple components of fruit, caramel and a creamed cake.
1 hour, 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and sugar the bundt pan or a 10" springform pan.
Peel and slice the peaches. Set aside.
Over medium heat, melt the 1/3 c. butter in a large saucepot. Add the sugar as soon as the butter is melted and begin to stir constantly, cooking the mixture. At first, the butter and sugar will be grainy. Some of the sugar will begin to melt, color lightly and create little bits. Just keep stirring. After a few minutes, all the sugar will turn a light golden color, the butter will separate out and form a greasy float on top. Just keep stirring. As it continues to cook, the color will deepen and the caramel will become homogenous again.
When the caramel is a nice amber color, add the peaches. This will produce a very violent reaction of hissing and bubbling. The caramel will also have seized/hardened in a few spots. Don't worry, gently stir and simmer the fruit in the caramel until the fruit begins to soften. Time will vary depending on the fruit.
Using a fork or slotted spoon, remove the fruit into the bottom of the prepared pan. You can arrange them decoratively if you like, but be aware they are very hot!
You will notice the caramel is thinner because of the juice released from the fruit. Return the pan to the heat. Continue simmering and stirring the caramel until it is thick and syrupy - like the consistency of warm honey. This is also the point where any seized bits should dissolve back into the mixture. Pour the hot caramel over the fruit in the cake pan.
Beat the shortening and sugar on medium high until very light and fluffy.
While the shortening and sugar are creaming, thoroughly blend the Cheatin' Wheat Gluten Free Flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and xanthan gum. Set aside.
In a second bowl, combine the buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract together. Set aside.
Once the shortening and sugar are creamed, turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time. Scrape well between additions. Keeping the mixer on low, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients for a total of five additions:
- Add half of the dry mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape.
- Add half of the buttermilk mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape.
- Add half of the remaining dry mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape.
- Add the remaining buttermilk mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape.
- Add remaining dry mixture and mix just until combined. Scrape.
Gently spoon 2/3 batter into prepared pan. Don't worry if it displaces some of the caramel. Smooth lightly. It should come slightly more than halfway up the pan. There will be enough batter left over for a few cupcakes or small loaves. Bake approximately 40 minutes or until the top is golden and springs back lightly when touched.
Cool for 15 minutes and then turn out of the pan. It is best to remove this cake from the pan while the caramel is still warm. If it cools too much, the caramel mixture does not release well. Allow to cool completely before slicing.