Blue berries are one of those fruits that have gotten a bit of a bad wrap for being boring. We’ve all had our fill of blueberry pancakes and muffins. Who hasn’t chased a blue berry around in a bowl of fruit salad? This time of year they are available all over the place and one can get easily burned out on them. So when we spied a mountain of them at the Galleria farmer’s market recently, we almost passed them over in search of something more challenging before deciding to try and find a different way of using them.
We shot an email to a pastry chef friend who suggested an upside down cake. A quick recipe search online and we settled on this one at Epicurious for its ease as well as complexity of flavors. As we prepared the cake, we slightly modified the recipe. We used a 2 full cups of berries and as our friend suggested, we added one tablespoon of lemon juice to the caramel before gently folding the berries in. We also suggest placing the cake on a sheet pan to catch the inevitable boil over of juice. Getting the still hot cake pan into soapy water immediately after flipping will also help with clean up.
The result was exquisite. The cake is dense and moist holding the berry caramel while also absorbing a little of the deep purple juice and the creamy almond flavor is a compliment to the tartness of the fruit.
While doing your shopping, look for 6oz tubes of almond paste. We found ours at Filleti’s in NOPA, but any gourmet market should have it. If you live in an area where finding almond paste is difficult, look here for a way to make your own.