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Nectarine Upside Down Chiffon Cake

this is my invariable advice to people:  Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and have fun.   Julia Child.  From My Life in France.

This has been my mantra for the past week getting ready for this recipe..   Learn from your mistakes, try something new, have fun, try new recipes, have fun… be fearless.  Got it!

As one of this week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie recipe hosts, my job is to provide the Nectarine Upside Down Chiffon Cake recipe, and give you the best tips and tricks I can.  Marlise, from The Double Trouble Kitchen, is your other host. I’ve been wanting to be a host for a long time.   I’m so happy to provide you with the recipe and be one of the “blogs of the month”!  It takes me back to being the child in school who got to pass out the graham crackers, or put up the calendar numbers on the bulletin board.   
When I saw the title, my first reaction was, chiffon?  Oh boy…     I really wanted, and hoped it would be fine on the first try.  After all, I’m supposed to know what I’m doing and be able to teach others.   Time for some fun and fearlessness.

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This is a grand, big girl/boy recipe.  It’s a  boeuf bourguignon of desserts.  Multiple steps, a few tricky details, and magnificent results.   I know you can do it.  Follow the recipe and the tips, and you’ll have a great, fancy dessert to share.

The first step was to find a 10″ spring form pan.   I rummaged through my collection of pans, got out the ruler to measure, and ta-da… check.   Don’t be tempted to use a smaller pan.  The recipe just fits into the 10″ model.   If you must, just don’t put all the batter into the pan.   It will be almost to the top.

This recipe used the last of my vacation peaches.  What a perfect recipe for such wonderful fruit.   The recipe calls for nectarines, so what’s the difference?  Peach fuzz.   I popped the peaches in boiling water, counted to 20, rinsed under cool water, and slipped off the peels.   They were juicy, and perfect for the recipe.

You’ll start the recipe by melting some of the butter in the bottom of the pan, adding brown sugar, and arranging the sliced fruit on top of the sugar.  Not so bad at all.   Be sure to wrap your pan in foil so the butter doesn’t drip on to the floor of your oven when the cake goes in.  Even with the best foil work, you may still have drippage.

butter-sugar-layer-1

Here’s the melted butter with the brown sugar, and then the peaches on top

Now on to the streusel.  I used chopped pecans instead of almonds, and didn’t toast them before adding them to the other ingredients.   Add the ingredients to the food processor and pulse until you have nice clumps of streusel.  The baking time of 12 minutes was perfect.  The kitchen smelled great!   Warm, buttery and delicious.

streusel-toppping-3

 

The third step is the chiffon batter.   You’ll be making a classic French meringue.  Be sure your egg whites are in an extra clean bowl, free of any yolk specs.  You may want to place the bowl over another bowl of warm water to gently warm the egg whites.  They’ll whip faster and fuller than if they’re cold.

What makes this French meringue?   Since the cake will be baked, the egg whites are not  heated as they are in Swiss Meringue.  The sugar in French meringue is not cooked (that’s Italian meringue!).   This meringue is medium peak egg whites whipped together at the end with sugar until shiny and firm.   This is the easiest of meringues, but still requires special attention.   Once your meringue is shiny, and firm, you’ll fold it into the yolk mixture.

To fold:  Hold your spatula perpendicular to the surface.  Cut straight in and down, then follow the edge of the bowl, up and over the top allowing the whites and yolk mixture to gently fall from the spatula.  Gentle!  Rotate the bowl, about 1/4 turn and repeat.  It will take several folds.  The batter should be light and homogeneous.

Place 1/2 of the over the fruit, add all but a few tablespoons of streusel, then add and smooth the remaining batter over the streusel.   The chiffon cake recipe states that it should be for 45-50 minutes.   I checked mine at 45, 55…65…75…85…90… minutes.   At this point, I was worried sick, and making plans for a redo, and writing the story in my mind about how I had tried and failed at this classic dessert.  Remember… be fearless and have fun!   Just past  1  1/2 hours of baking, the cake was firm to the touch and the toothpick came out clean.  The surface was golden brown, but I had no idea of what the fruit and sugar were going to look like at the bottom.   In another 25 minutes, I’d find out.

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The finished Chiffon Cake right out of the oven.

Twenty five minutes later, I attempted to release the springform ring.  The edges were stuck and I was about to rip the cake.  Whoops!   I used a butter knife to gently release the cake from the side of the pan.  It released perfectly, and was ready for the flip.

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You can see the little dimples from the bottom of the spring form pan.  A sprinkle of streusel and the beautiful chiffon cake was finished.

chifon-cake-1-2

The cake is just as it’s described in Baking with Julia.  It’s  light, buttery and delicious.  The streusel and peaches were a perfect pair.  I hope you’ll try this recipe.   Try a new recipe, be fearless and have fun!

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46 Responses

  1. Ckay says:

    Susan, thank you so much for hosting and writing such a beautiful post. Your cake is so beautiful.

    I hope my readers do come and visit you: you’ll give them hope (and they’ll need it after reading my post) and the courage to bake this wonderful cake, which unfortunately I did not (whispering) like it.

  2. Miette says:

    Thank you so much for hosting. I love your nectarine design and the cake looks delicious. I agree- more than 50 minutes baking does the trick.

  3. Maggie says:

    Great job Susan! This cake was a little nerve-wracking so I think your Julia advice is spot-on. The last pic & the one of the basket of peaches are my faves – just beautiful!

  4. Amy says:

    your cake turned out beautifully! thanks for hosting this week!

  5. Cindy Harris says:

    I’m so proud of myself–I was fearless and I had fun. It was a delicious recipe–I felt so accomplished!
    Great recipe, thanks Susan for hosting.

  6. Thanks for hosting. Your photos are so, ‘spot on’ gorgeous.

    Carmen

  7. Trish says:

    Looks so delicious. I may need to break out the big mixer to try this. Did you use a regular oven? Is the chiffon step the hardest?, would it work if all the streusel was inside or does it taste better on top? The design of the peaches is so pretty I’d hate to cover it. You are an awesome teacher. Thanks.

  8. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I’m so happy this recipe was chosen this month. Your cake turned out so pretty:)Thank you for hosting this month for TWD:)

  9. Karen K says:

    Gorgeous photos! My cake took about 55 minutes but it sank a bit while cooling. Yours is so tall!

  10. nice write-up and beautiful photos … i esp like the basket of peaches photo. :) thanks for hosting!

  11. [...] week’s hosts are: Marlise and Susan. You can find everyone’s links here: Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon Cake Share this:Like [...]

  12. Such a wonderful post! Thank you for hosting. It was such a LONG recipe and you did such a great job. I love the basket of peaches picture and of course, your finished product. I won’t do this one again, but no problem — we have lots of recipes ahead! Blessings, Catherine
    http://praycookblog.com/2012/09/twd-bwj-nectarine-upside-down-chiffon-cake/

  13. Simply marvelous looking cake! Thanks for hosting!

  14. Susan, thanks so much for hosting this week. Your cake looks absolutely beautiful, especially love your photography. Our cake is still in the oven – we seem to be experiencing a similar problem – at this point we are worried. After all, our’s is gluten free. Hoping for the best. Great job.

  15. Teresa says:

    Lovely post, Susan! Thanks so much for hosting. I love all your tips – we used a 10.5 inch pan, which I don’t think was cheating too much. The cake looks absolutely gorgeous and peaches must have tasted great with the cake and streusel.

  16. Kathy says:

    Great job! Beautiful cake! Thanks for hosting!!

  17. Tammy says:

    That basket ‘o peaches looks like it could have been taken straight off Ina Garten’s dinner table in the Hamptons! Fabulous pics.

  18. [...] to our hosts this week – Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery.  Check out their blogs to read about their baking experiences as well as for the recipe itself. [...]

  19. Melissa says:

    One of my favorite Julia Child quotes. Your cake and photos are beautiful! Thanks for hosting this week!

  20. Raelynn says:

    Your cake looks amazing….thanks for hosting!!

  21. Carie says:

    It looks wonderful! Thanks for hosting. We liked t his one, too.

  22. Jinga says:

    Thank you for hosting. Your cake and pics look great. My family and I enjoy this cake very much. Fighting the urge to go downstairs for another piece.

  23. Cathy B. says:

    Your post was great! I should’ve baked mine a little bit longer. I got scared after about 1 hour and 20 minutes and pulled it. My cake fell a little in the center. It still tasted great, it just wasn’t quite as fluffy.

  24. Betsy says:

    I skipped this one, but have to make time to make it up. It looks scrumptious.

  25. Athena says:

    Enjoyed your post, Susan, and thank you for hosting. Would love to try this cake with peaches, though I was pleasantly surprised (and pleased) with the nectarines. I’m fascinated by the fact that you trained in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu… just like Julia :)

  26. sunshine x2 says:

    Your cake looks picture perfect. Congrats on perfection and sticking with it.

  27. [...] with Dori hosts for this week — Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  28. Janis says:

    It was a nice touch sprinkling the streusel on top! Lucky you to still have nectarines….we were all out so I ended up using white peaches.

  29. Love the Julia quote- I may have to “borrow” it! Beautiful cake and a lovely post. I’m so jealous that your cake didn’t fall in the center like mine did. But I certainly won’t let that make me afraid to try it again. Fearless, right?

  30. Carlene says:

    It looks beautiful! I baked mine a full hour. It really needed much longer than the recipe indicated. Very nice write up–thanks for hosting.
    Carlene

  31. Susan, thank you for hosting this week’ s recipe. Your peach version of the Chiffon Cake looks delicious and wonderful and just picture perfect.

    Have a good week!

  32. sanya says:

    Your cake looks perfect! Your pics are vibrant and gorgeous! Great job!!!

  33. Fantastic looking cake and pics! The detailed instructions are great. Thanks for hosting this week!

  34. smarkies says:

    thanks for hosting! yours turned out absolutely lovely!

  35. Jaime says:

    your cake turned out stunning! thanks for hosting, i enjoyed this one

  36. Cher says:

    Susan – you did yourself proud with this one :-) Gorgeous post – thanks for hosting this week.

  37. Beth says:

    Thank you for hosting this recipe- your cake turned out perfect! Thank you for also keeping me straight on the different types of meringues – I always get French and Swiss meringue mixed up!!

  38. oven chaos says:

    Thanks for being fearless and having fun in the kitchen this week – it sure lead to a beautiful looking cake!

  39. thanks for being a great (and informative) hostess! this is a fancy and delicious dessert, and i’m so glad it was chosen this summer. love your photo of peaches…their pointy tips are so cute.

  40. [...] week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie recipe that you can find at The Double Trouble Kitchen and Little French Bakery, our hosts for this challenge. I read through the recipe a few times and didn’t really know [...]

  41. [...] With life intervening a bit, I was unable to bake and photograph this week’s recipe on time.  I ended up baking on Wednesday and writing on Friday.  Hopefully, that’s not going too rogue for the group .  You can see plenty more bakers’ cakes who were prompt [and a few who were late like me] here.  As always, the full recipe is available on the blogs of this week’s hosts, Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen, and Susan of The Little French Bakery. [...]

  42. [...] After a 4 month, wedding induced hiatus (God, that’s a long time), I’m back to Baking with Julia with this very labor intensive Nectarine Upside-Down Chiffon cake.  For the complete recipe check out this post from Little French Bakery [...]

  43. Wow that looks beautiful! Looks like you have spent a lot of time to make it. Looks perfect like the ones in the bakery. Great job

  44. Cathleen says:

    Lovely post. I love the photo of the basket of peaches. Great job hosting!

  45. Adam says:

    mmm that looks seriously good! I might have to give this one a go myself!

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