Lana, my four year old daughter, loves to bake. I am not sure whether her love for baking stems from having watched me churn out our weekly homemade cakes and cookies while sitting on our kitchen counter since the tender age of 6 months, or from her undying love for sweet things. Whatever the motivation, I can only see this as a positive thing. Actively encouraging and teaching my children to cook and bake is, and it can only be, a gift that keeps on giving.
Lana has bookmarked the recipe for an upside down cake from her cookbook for many months now. I think the name (upside down!) of the cake rather appealed to her. I bought her a cookbook for kids (The Cooking Book by Jane Bull) and she absolutely adores it. It has simple recipes that presents the food in a visually appealing way to kids, with step by step photography to help young readers get an idea of what they are supposed to do. While I am thrilled that Lana’s cookbook has been instrumental in inspiring her to cook and bake entire meals (she wants to make smoothies for breakfast! Tomato pasta for dinner! Jam tarts for dessert!), I am not too sold on the recipes themselves.
I own several of Rachel Allen’s books and she has many different versions of upside down cakes in them. The fruit she uses for the topping varies and are pretty creative, but the batter always remains constant, and that was what I went with for our upside down cake. I sliced up nectarines and apricots and Lana arranged them in the shape of a rose – after her middle name – in the cake tin while I made up the batter. Once everything was finished, we put it in the oven to bake and gave each other a high-five for our teamwork.
When it was done, the cake flipped easily onto a plate to reveal a beautiful, golden topping of summer stone fruit. Look at Lana admiring her work of art. Priceless.