Apricot Upside Down Cake
Note: Any stone fruit is good here: nectarines, peaches, cherries, or a mix!
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
10 or 11 small (2- to 2-1/4 inch) fresh apricots (1-1/4 lb), halved lengthwise and pitted
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
—> 10-inch well-seasoned cast-iron skillet
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter, then cook, undisturbed, 3 minutes (not all the sugar will be melted). Remove skillet from heat and arrange apricot halves, cut sides up and close together, on top of brown sugar.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.
Beat together butter, sugar, and extracts in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 3 to 4 minutes with a handheld. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat until mixture is creamy and doubled in volume, 2 to 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and beat until just combined.
Gently spoon batter over apricots, then spread evenly.
Place the skillet on a rimmed baking sheet to catch drips and bake cake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Wearing oven mitts, immediately place a large plate over the skillet and, keeping plate and skillet firmly held together, invert cake onto the plate. Carefully lift skillet off cake and, if necessary, replace any fruit that is stuck to bottom of skillet. Cool to warm or room temperature.
Serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla bean ice a cream.