Friday, March 4, 2016

The Star Spangled Cake

Mother Nature is certainly weird. So many gorgeous tropical fruit are in all the stores during the coldest time of the year, when I am most definitely not feeling very tropical. Just yesterday I walked into the grocery store and was accosted by mountains of perfect pineapples, giant papayas, rambutans, kiwi, baby red bananas and carambola. I just cannot pass up a carambola when they're in season. Besides being juicy and delicious, they are so fun to eat and beautiful in recipes.

This time around I wanted to do something a little different than the cliche fruit salad. It was a cold gloomy day and I needed something to do while waiting for the furnace serviceman to come and fix our heat which had gone on the fritz overnight, so what better thing to do in a chilly house than fire up the oven and bake something? Sounded like a fine idea to me. Plus I had a few random fruits to use up, so I got busy playing with cake batter. A few leftover blackberries were hanging around the fridge, and a last orange that needed to be used soon, a small amount of coconut leftover from baking and the ingredients for an easy scratch cake batter and I started to incorporate that carambola......when it dawned on me- upside down cake!

Pineapple upside down cake is familiar to most people, right? Pineapple is tropical, and bright red cherries add a pop of color, so I'm looking at what I ave spread out on the counter and decided slices of carambola would work perfectly with those last few blackberries tucked around there in between. Add the coconut to the batter along with some orange zest,make a quick gooey caramel for the pan bottom and it's all set. Let's bake this!

Carambola Coconut Upside Down Cake

2 carambola
1/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tb orange juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of one orange
1/2 cup coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9 inch pan and set aside.

In a small bowl stir together the melted butter, brown sugar and orange juice. Set aside.

Thinly slice the carambola, remove any seeds. Arrange in the greased pan. Pour the butter sugar mixture over. I had about 10 or so blackberries I tucked in and around the sliced starfruit. You can use any berries, pitted cherries or even nuts if you like.

For the cake, beat the butter with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and then the eggs. 

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternately add the flour and the milk to the butter mixture, until all have been combined. Stir in the zest, vanilla and coconut.

Pour the cake batter over the fruit in the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove from oven and cool about 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.

My first impression when I lifted off the pan was PARTY cake! Perfect for a potluck or Fourth of July picnic the star shaped carambola looked so festive,and the blackberries added a pretty color- red raspberries and blueberries would be perfect for an Independence Day cake. My second impression was tasting that first bite of the still-warm cake. The gooey buttery caramelly edges were so so so seriously need to try this cake. 

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