This dessert is sort of a last kiss between the parting of seasons. Clementines are(well) on their way out, after being enjoyed all winter long as the go-to, easy access fruit. Fresh Rosemary is just coming into use, going into gardens every where, to be enjoyed all summer long. I’ve already exhausted my supply of rosemary. My poor plant needs some recovery time and I need more plants.
Regardless of my blatant disregard for the slow growth rate of my favorite herb, it really does pair so beautifully with those bright, juicy clementines. And who doesn’t love the stunning simplicity of an upside-down cake? These turn out of their pans so easily(just make sure to use a non-stick muffin tin…it makes a huge difference!) and the clementines have such a beautiful vibrant color.
The rosemary isn’t in heavy use, in this recipe. Just used to lightly scent the vibrant citrus syrup that is drizzled over the tops of the clementines, upping the gloss factor and orange flavors.
Dense, but not heavy, lightly butterscotch flavored cake serves as the pedestal on which the clementines sit. And a dense cake is necessary when you have such a small dessert on your hands. Small desserts require substance! There is nothing more disappointing to me than a little dessert with no substance.
The batter will most likely fill your entire muffin tin. Don’t worry about it overflowing, it shouldn’t rise much at all due to it’s lack of leavener.
Make sure that you plan a little ahead for these cakes. You’ll need to make a browned butter that will need time to chill and solidify before use. It can be made an hour in advance, or up to several days in advance kept stored in the fridge.
The syrup can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge as well. Just make sure to bring it back up to room temperature or warm it up a bit before using. You may have a little syrup left over….hello pancakes!
- FOR THE SYRUP:
- 4 sprigs fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
- ¾ C. Sugar
- Juice of 2 medium Oranges
- FOR THE CAKES:
- 2 sticks Butter(8 oz)
- ¾ C. flour
- ¾ C. Brown Sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ t. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 t. Vanilla
- 2 T. Milk
- 3 clementines, peeled
- 9 t. Brown Sugar
- For the Syrup:
- Place the chopped rosemary, sugar, and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Stir lightly to wet sugar.
- Bring to a boil over medium/high heat, brushing the sides down occasionally with a wet pastry brush to dissolve any sugar crystals that may have formed on the sides.
- Boil for 5-7 minutes, or until the syrup has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- For the Cakes:
- In a large saute pan on medium/high heat, melt the butter.
- Butter will begin to foam and puff up. Stir constantly, until the butter turns a golden brown color and develops a nutty aroma. Take care not to burn.
- Remove butter from heat and pour into a shallow container. You can either refrigerate the butter for about an hour, until it firms up, or pop it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- When the butter has firmed up, scoop out ½ C. of the butter and place it in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the remaining browned butter and using a pastry brush, use it to heavily coat the bottoms and sides of 9 muffin tin wells.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of brown sugar evenly across the bottom of each greased well.
- Cut the ends off of each clementine(eat these!) and cut three horizontal slices out of each clementine for 9 total slices. Place a slice of clementine on top of each brown sugar covered well. Pat down firmly into the tin.
- Add the ¾ C. brown sugar to the reserved ½ C. of solid brown butter and cream with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
- Add to the butter/egg mixture and mix in until just combined.
- Add the milk and mix in until just combined.
- Scoop the batter into the clementine lined muffin wells, dividing evenly between the 9 wells(about 3½ T. per well..
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-23 minutes, or until golden brown and firmly set on top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Using your finger tips, press down gently on top of each cake and twist. The cake should turn pretty easily. Do this to each cake to loosen, and then invert the pan and gently remove the cakes, if they don't already fall out on their own.
- Serve the cakes warm, drizzled with the rosemary syrup.