There is something about the smell of simmering brown sugar and butter. I used to opt for the quick method, using the microwave for about 20 seconds to zap the mixure. But you don't get that fudgy aroma. Now that I've invested in some heavy duty baking tins, I simmer the sugar and butter together on top of the hob, stirring with my oldest wooden spoon until treacly and smooth. Therapeutic. Truly.
Then all you have to do is add your seasonal fruit, sliced, into the sugary buttery syrup and top with your sponge mixture and bake. Adding a winter spice - like cinnamon, or nutmeg - intensifies the flavour of the cake. This time of year, pears and bananas feature regularly on our upside down cakes and the trick is to bake them just long enough for a wooden skewer to come out clean and not so long that the syrup bakes hard.
When you turn the cake out of the tin, and the sticky fruit now snuggles at the top, the syrup should still be slightly soft and sticky so that when you add a dollop of creme fraiche the two kind of ooze together.
One of my favourite favourite winter cakes. It's a pear one today.
Enjoy one of our loose leaf teas to go with - maybe the spiced apple one.
Enjoy! And remember that you can find out some more of our insider baking tips on Wednesday night at our baking class. We throw in a free glass of fizz. Well, the festivities don't end just because Christmas is over!