Between my house and my neighbors, there must be at least 5 loquat trees packed with ripe fruit. And other than eating them straight from the tree, i’m never quite sure what to do with all the loquats. Most of the recipes i’ve found are for loquat jelly or jam, which just isn’t that appealing to me. So I made up my own recipe- Loquat Upside Down Cake. This is a fun, skillet-to-oven dish that takes very little effort and results in a layer of caramelized loquats atop a vanilla-scented cake.
1 Stick Butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
About 30 fresh, ripe loquats, halved and pitted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon (optional)
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
Equipment: A 10″-12″ ovenproof cast-iron skillet
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
For loquat topping: Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter, then cook, without stirring, for 3 minutes. Not all the sugar will be melted. Remove skillet from heat and arrange loquats, cut sides down, in a circular pattern over the brown sugar/butter mixture.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and soda, salt and optional spice.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 1/2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one and a time until mixture is creamy and has doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk. Beat until just combined.
Gently pour batter over loquats. Bake cake in the middle of the oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.
As soon as cake is done, invert a large plate or pan over the skillet and flip skillet over, inverting the cake onto the plate. Lift skillet off cake and replace any fruit still stuck to bottom of skillet. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Cake will last, covered and refrigerated, for several days. Reheat in a low oven.