Cinnamon Spiced Apricot Pecan Upside-Down Cake

Apricots drenched in caramel and ground pecans and cinnamon in the batter make this cake the sophisticated cousin of the classic pineapple upside-down cake.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 8
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Ingredients

Caramel and Fruit:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds firm ripe apricots, halved and pitted

Batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook's Note)

1/4 cup finely ground pecans

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 cup sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk or 3/4 cup whole milk whisked with 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the caramel and fruit: 

  1. Stir together the sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons water in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet until a mixture that looks like wet sand. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and light amber, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt if making a salted caramel. Arrange the apricots, cut-side down, on top.

For the batter: 

  1. Whisk the flour, pecans, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beating until just incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter over the fruit and spread evenly. Bake until golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes and then invert onto a platter. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)