Fresh Fig, Walnut, And Rosemary Upside Down Cake

A fruit upside down cake is one of those ‘hold your breath hope that the universe is feeling generous enough to allow your masterpiece to ease onto the decorative platter you’ve chosen for this momentous occasion’ kind of moments. You brace the plate over the cake, grip both sides, suck it in, hold, flip quick, carefully lift, anticipating the weight of the pan lessening as the sides and bottom release and fall, hopefully. At this point, one of 2 things happens. You exhale with a broad smile, a huge sense of relief, and a few arm pumping YES’S! Or, you exhale, shoulders slumping, and your chef hat deflates a little. But then, you brush the flour from your apron, fluff your hat, and whisk it up to just another challenge that you have all the skills to tackle. My first experience? I opened my eyes to see what could best be described as a pudding cake. Turns out that even though the top was getting dark the middle was not done and since throwing it back in the oven was not an option I threw it out the back door. Just kidding! Although my birds and squirrels would probably have peeled the figs away, plucked the walnuts off and gotten a major sugar high. My oven usually bakes things faster than the recipe calls for but of course I tested it. It was clean except for what I thought was the goo at the bottom of the pan. I was able to gnaw on the edges, no not literally… I used a fork. I wanted to see if I liked the finished product enough to go another round. The first flavor that delighted my palate with this cake was the amazing partnership of lemon and rosemary. Followed closely by the buttery, sugary base that becomes the syrupy top. Then there’s the soft figs and crunchy walnuts, fantastic contrast. I only posted the pretty pictures, not the ugly figling. So I went back into the test kitchen and made a few alterations the second time around. I decreased the butter and sugar because initially I had included too much of a good thing. I love rosemary so I added another teaspoon. Same with the walnuts, I like one in almost every bite! Because the inside did not cook I eliminated the egg separation step and used 3 whole eggs, whipping them longer with the sugar for frothy volume. Then I decided to use 3 lemon sources instead of just juice and zest from a lemon.