Stress is a nasty thing. But for me, stress usually has some unintended positive consequences. Baking, for one.
I'm a cook at heart. Baking is totally inconsistent with my typical happy-go-lucky, pinch of this, glug of that attitude. But when I'm stressed, I get serious satisfaction out of doing something that requires all sorts of discipline, control, and precision.
Hence, today's recipe. Work has been a little cray. So to deal, I'm baking up a bunch of my favorite things into one really delicious cake - caramel, red wine, and berries.
The red wine caramel and blackberries are poured into a cake pan and then topped with a brown sugar-based cake. Bake it, flip it, and ta-da! A glistening bombshell of a cake.
A dollop of vanilla ice cream on top is another proven stress buster.
Blackberry Upside-Down Cake with Red Wine Caramel
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 30 min
3/4 cup fruity red wine, such as Grenache or Zinfandel
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs butter
2 1/2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbs half & half
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C. Butter a 9" metal cake pan.
Make the Caramel: In one small saucepan, heat red wine to boiling and reduce to 1/4 cup.
Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, heat sugar over high heat without stirring. Cook until a whiskey-colored caramel forms, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully pour in red wine down the side of the saucepan, watching for steam. Whisk until combined, then remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. The mixture should be a runny, smooth caramel, not too watery.
Immediately pour the caramel into the cake pan. Carefully place the blackberries over the caramel in an even layer.
Make the cake: In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream with the half & half and vanilla. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a hand mixer at low speed, beat in the butter for about 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs at low speed, then turn it up to medium-high and beat batter until fluffy, about 1 minute.
Scrape down the side of the bowl. At medium speed, beat in the sour cream mixture, about 30 seconds.
Pour the batter over the blackberries and gently spread in an even layer. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until golden.
Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes. Then use a serving plate to flip the cake out of the pan so the berries are on top.
To serve, cut into wedges and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.