Star Fruit Upside-Down Cake
This recipe is a show stopper during the holiday season, and is a nice change from pineapple upside-down cake. Star fruit are easy to find here in Hawaii, especially in the winter when they're usually available in farmers markets. Not only are they beautiful and delicious, but they are packed with antioxidants, potassium and Vitamin C, which can help ward off winter colds and flu. They are also a good source of fiber with only about 30 calories per fruit.
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 to 6 star fruit, depending on how large they are
(I usually buy a couple extra just in case)
1/2 cup pecan halves
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Rinse the star fruit. Holding the fruit in the palm of your hand, using a potato peeler, remove the tip of the five ridges (or “star points”), discarding the brownish outer edge. Trim off the ends of the star fruit and discard. Slice the fruit about 1/4 inch-thick. Repeat this process until you have enough stars to cover the top of the cake.
Using the tip of your knife, remove and discard any seeds you find in the sliced stars.
Melt butter in a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet (or cake pan) on medium heat (watch carefully so the butter doesn't burn). Remove from burner. Evenly (without lumps) sprinkle in the dark brown sugar. Arrange the star fruit slices on top of the sugar, fill in spaces between stars with pecans halves (remember to turn the pecan halves so the top of each half faces down).
In large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and oil. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 1 minute. Add egg, lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla. Beat just until well combined.
Carefully pour batter evenly over star fruit in skillet. Bake in preheated 350˚F oven until tester (toothpick) inserted into centre of cake comes out clean and top of cake is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Have a serving plate ready as this cake needs to be inverted onto a it the minute it leaves the oven, otherwise the fruit and nuts may stick to the bottom of the skillet. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Note: If any of the fruit or nuts stick to the bottom of the skillet, don't panic, carefully slip a fork under the runaways and press them back on top.