Upside-Down Nectarine Cake With Thyme Cream

It's surprising how well this cake comes out, considering it’s cooked on a BBQ – upside-down cakes can be particularly forgiving, and they're irresistible with their caramelised fruity base. Here nectarines are combined with a little thyme; herb flavours can be great with sugar, as long as you don’t overdo it. Of course, you could always cook this in the oven, if you don't have a BBQ.

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Serves
4
Total Time
1 Hour 25 Minutes
Ingredients
125g of butter, softened
125g of golden caster sugar
125g of self-raising flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 large eggs
For the Thyme Cream
300ml of double cream
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp of caster sugar
For the Caramelised Nectarine
50g of butter, softened
50g of light brown sugar
3 ripe but firm nectarines, stoned & sliced into 6-8 wedges
Leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
Method
Step 1
Gently heat the cream in a pan with the thyme sprigs, but don’t let it boil. Set aside for 20 minutes to infuse, then strain and chill.
Step 2
Cut out a circle of parchment paper that is a bit larger than the skillet and use it to line the base. It will come up the sides a little bit and help to contain the caramel.
Step 3
Beat the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon (or use a mixer with a paddle attachment) until creamy, then spread it over the paper in the base of the skillet. Arrange the fruit slices in a nice pattern on top of the butter and sugar mixture. Add the leaves from 1 sprig of thyme. Place the skillet on top of a baking sheet (one that will fit inside the BBQ).
Step 4
Prepare a BBQ for indirect cooking with the coals banked to one side – you are looking for medium heat.
Step 5
Place all the cake ingredients in a bowl and use an electric whisk to beat to a soft consistency. Spoon on top of the fruit.
Step 6
Bake the cake on the opposite side to the coals for 40-50 minutes with the lid on and the vents open, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the BBQ and allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out and removing the parchment paper. Serve the upside-down cake with the thyme cream.

To Cook Indoors: Preheat the oven to (320°F/gas 4). Bake the
cake on a baking sheet in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove from
the oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before turning out.

LIVE FIRE: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New by Helen Graves (Hardie Grant, £26) Photography: Rob Billington.

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