This Peacotum Maple Glazed Upside-Down Cake recipe is based off a Maple-Pecan Pear Upside-Down Cake I found in “Relish Magazine” by Crescent Dragonwagon. The cake part is essentially unchanged but I messed around a bit with the upside-down part. But I want to tell a story about this cake (if you don’t want to read the story, just scroll down to the end for the recipe to shut me up digitally).
Long ago, when I was working at a small historical museum (Healdsburg Museum and Historical Society), I helped create a Farm to Table exhibit. My favorite part of the creative and research process was going through really old cookbooks in the collection. They ranged from government pamphlets, magazine entries, newspaper clippings, church and charity cookbooks, and notebooks with recipes scribbled in them, the pencil strokes fading from age. I loved seeing how some cooking traditions and ingredients that had been popular a hundred-plus years ago were beginning to re-emerge in the present.
A large portion of the exhibit focused on the historical agricultural practices of the Northern Sonoma area. Healdsburg’s main cash crop for many decades, before they were replaced with vineyards, were prune orchards. Because it was an important part of Healdsburg history, we received lots of loans from past prune farmers. One of them still had some prune trees on his land and he brought a couple boxfuls of French and Imperial prunes to the museum.
Before I was given an education about prunes, I thought they were old people food and knew, like everyone else, that a prune was a dried plum-duh. Nope. Wrong wrong wrong (as I learned from proud Healdsburgians). A prune is a variety of plum. But anyway, I tried my first fresh prunes and they were so good. I especially liked the Imperial prunes. They tasted like they had been infused with brown sugar. I immediately began imagining what I could bake with them.
I took some home with me and flipped through my recipe collection and found this recipe (it came with a cool short history lesson about upside-down cakes, which seemed really appropriate). I loved how it turned out but I am a little sad because that was probably the one and only time I will ever be able to use prunes.
At the farmers market I tried some peacotums and I was reminded a little of the brown-sugar infused Imperial prunes so I snatched them up and made this again. I love it as a sweet breakfast/brunch option. I can’t wake up to this because I’m always the one baking it, but it really is perfect to wake up to on lazy mornings with a fresh batch of coffee.
It is also really good to serve to those people in your lives (we all have them) who aren’t too fond of sweets. Most of the time those kind of people (the pour souls) end up really liking this.
Peacotum Maple Glazed Upside-Down Cake
- 1/2 cup cran-cherry juice
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 package Cinnamon and Spice Instant Oatmeal
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 5 cup peacotums (about 1 peeled pitted, and mashed)
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1 cups and 3/4 all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoons and 1/2 baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoons and 1/2 vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat the cran-cherry juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Take off heat and add the dried cherries. Set aside.
Cut the peacotums in half and remove the pits. Remove the skin and then place the peacotums in a medium-sized bowl. Mash with a pair of forks or a potato masher until the peacotums reach a jelly-like consistency (smooth with some chunks)
Mix the brown sugar and the Cinnamon and Spice Instant Oatmeal packet together.
Melt the butter in a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet (or any oven-proof skillet).
Press the sugar and oatmeal mixture into the butter, making sure it is evenly spread throughout the bottom of the skillet.
Pour the maple syrup over the brown sugar and oatmeal mixture but don't stir it.
Drain the cherries and save the soaking liquid (cut the cherries into smaller pieces if desired).
Place the mashed peacotums, cherries, and pecans over the brown sugar mixture.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg.
Pour the saved cherry soaking liquid into a measuring cup and then add the buttermilk to equal 2/3 cup.
Alternate adding 1/3 cup of the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the sugar mixture, beating gently in between. Don't over beat.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a rubber spatula around the edge of the skillet and then let the cake cool for 5 minutes.
Place a plate that is larger than the skillet on top and invert the skillet. Let it rest inverted for a couple of minutes and then gently remove the skillet. Serve warm.
A peacotum is a peach/apricot/plum hybrid. The best substitutions would be plums or pluots. I originally made this with fresh French and Imperial Prunes from a farmer who still had some trees on his land and it was one of my all time favorite desserts. But finding fresh prunes in stores is impossible so I use any variety of plum that is is in season.