Our lifestyle blogger friend, Camille Styles came out with a book, “Camille Styles Entertaining” that has all the inspiration you need to throw the perfect party. Seriously. Filled with recipes, decor ideas, and even DIY party favors, Camille is equipping us to recreate her fab (and delicious!) soirees! With Spring right around the corner, we were inspired by her Spring celebration brunch chalked full of lilacs, lavender lemonade, and oh- this delectable clementine-vanilla bean upside-down cake! (It’s okay to drool). Camille kindly handed over the recipe to his moist masterpiece – as well as a book to giveaway to one of you! Woo! Enter away below and we’ll notify the winners next week!! (Trust us.. there’s more amazing decor and recipe inspiration where this came from!).
Clementine-Vanilla Bean Upside-Down Cake
I have two requirements for homemade desserts for a party: they’ve got to be beautiful, and I must be able to completely prepare them in advance. This cake absolutely fulfills both. The concentric spirals of caramelized clementines make this cake a real stunner—a completely fresh take on the traditional upside-down cakes that were so popular in the 1950s and ’60s. Make it the night before the brunch, so all that’s left to do is slice it up and top with honey crème fraiche. And brew the coffee, of course.
5 clementines, thinly sliced (peel intact) and seeds removed
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
Candied Clementine Slices (optional):
1 cup granulated sugar
4 clementines, thinly sliced and seeds removed
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon clementine zest (from about 2 clementines)
¼ cup freshly squeezed clementine juice (from 1 medium or 2 very small clementines)
2 vanilla beans
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup crème fraiche
2 tablespoons honey
To make the topping: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the clementine slices and cook for 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a paper-towel-lined plate. Spread out in a single layer and set aside to dry for 1 hour. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. Add the brown sugar and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, until the caramel lightens in color and gets foamy. Working very quickly, pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and swirl to coat evenly. Arrange the clementine slices in concentric circles over the topping. Press the fruit lightly into the topping and set aside.
Set an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F.
To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the cream, zest, and juice. Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise, scrape the seeds into the bowl (reserving the pods for another use), and whisk to combine. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter on medium-high speed. Very slowly add 1 cup of the granulated sugar and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula when necessary.
Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and add the dry ingredients and cream mixture alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until smooth and then transfer the batter to a very large mixing bowl. Clean and dry the standing mixer, add the egg whites, and beat them on low speed just until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the batter with a spatula to lighten the mixture. Add the remainder of the whites to the batter and fold until no streaks remain. Carefully pour the batter over the clementines in the pan and spread evenly.
Bake until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted just into the cake (not the topping) comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake rest in the pan for 2 minutes on a wire rack. Run the edge of a paring knife all the way around the sides to dislodge any stuck bits. Place the wire rack over the pan and carefully invert the cake onto the rack. Tap a couple times and then remove the pan. If any fruit is still stuck to the pan, you can remove it and arrange it on top of the cake (no one will ever notice!). Allow the cake to cool completely.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the crème fraiche with the honey. If topping with additional candied clementines, bring the granulated sugar and 1 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the clementine slices and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel- lined plate and set aside to cool. Use to garnish the top of the cake as desired.
Use a serrated knife to cleanly slice through the clementine topping when cutting the cake, and serve slices with the honey creme fraiche.