My Granny was an amazing cook. Mom always tells me about all the things she used to make when she was a child. I never got to taste much of her cooking and there are few recipes for me to rely on now to bring her into my kitchen somehow. She has been gone for a few years now, though I find I miss her more as time passes, wishing she was in the kitchen baking and cooking with me, hopefully trying and enjoying all the things we make. It would be so cool to be able to bond with her, as I have matured and would appreciate her far more than I did when she was alive. I like to think that she’s with me, helping me as much as is possible, particularly when I’m cooking.
One of the things she was most known for was Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I had the opportunity to try it years and years ago at her eightieth birthday. Everyone talked it up, saying how amazing it was, how this was the best thing Granny made. Anytime it was someone’s birthday, a holiday, just a Sunday, this cake was requested. It looked great, the image seared in my head like it was yesterday, golden brown and delicious, glimmering slices of pineapple with maraschino cherries covering the top. I couldn’t wait to try it. This was going to be the best thing I’d ever tasted in my young life. I took a bite.
I hated it; I actually think I may have spit it out. This should not be a reflection on Granny’s cooking abilities, rather one on my picky palate. The texture was too firm, almost a little like a biscuit. And I discovered I don’t like pineapple at all. I felt horrible; I was supposed to love this and I couldn’t even take another bite. The guilt I feel over this has only grown over the years; I wish I would’ve liked that cake. I really do. Since then, I’ve never made or eaten another upside down cake of any kind, certain that I would hate it.
But this Martha Stewart Blueberry Upside Down Cake has been calling my name for quite some time, not looking anything like the cake of my past. So I made it because it looked great, and as a tribute to Granny. Martha didn’t disappoint, or maybe it was Granny guiding me in the baking process. It is not at all like Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, instead it is reminiscent of coffee cake or blueberry buckle.
It’s a quick cake to put together. The butter’s even melted, so there’s no planning ahead. It gets baked in a surprisingly small soufflé dish. I love my new Aplico soufflé dishes. They bake and clean perfectly. But when the cake is done, it looks big and impressive. Serving four might be a bit of a stretch, but it served the three of us nicely, though you should remember I have a major sweet tooth.
The cake is soft and moist on the interior, though I didn’t love the hard, crunchy top crust, but the blueberries are what make this amazing. They are sweet, plump, and taste almost like pie filling. So Granny, I’m very sorry I didn’t like your cake, wish I would have, but I like to think if you were still around we’d bond over our love of this cake, among many other things.
- ½ stick butter, melted, plus more for pan
- ⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 pint blueberries, picked over and rinsed
- ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup milk, room temperature (I actually used almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 1-quart, 5 ½ inch diameter soufflé pan. Pour 1 ½ tablespoons of the melted butter into the pan (The recipe called for 2, but I skimped a little). Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in the pan. Place ¾ of the blueberries in the pan.
- In a medium-small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons melted butter, ⅓ cup brown sugar, and egg until fully combined. Add milk and vanilla. Stir to combine. Stir in the flour mixture until the batter comes together.
- Spread half of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with remaining blueberries. Spread the remaining batter on top. The pan will be very full; this is okay. Place pan on a foil lined baking sheet, as it will bake over. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs. The fruit juices should be bubbling and the top golden brown and firm. This will take 40-45 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before loosening from sides and inverting onto serving plate. It may be a bit messy, but it is still delicious. Serve immediately. I do not recommend storing or freezing this dessert.