Calling all lemon lovers! This is one cake you must try—it will tantalize your lemon loving palate like no other. The cake tastes super lemony with intermingling sweet and tart notes. The lemon slices arranged on the bottom of the pan become an impressive top once the cake has been baked and inverted. Every time I bake this cake, I hardly keep myself from peeling off the caramelized lemons on the top and slyly popping them into my mouth before the cake even has a chance to be served. They are so good!
Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Adapted, barely, from Luscious Lemon Desserts, by Lori Longbotham
3 medium lemons
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Trim the ends from the lemons and cut the fruit into slices 1/8 inch thick with a very sharp knife or a mandoline. Discard any seeds.
Melt 1/4 cup of the butter with the brown sugar in an ovenproof, non-stick 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the lemon slices, increase the heat to high, and boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and arrange the sliced in an orderly pattern in the bottom of the skillet.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
Beat the remaining 1/2 cup of butter with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and zest and beat, scraping down the side of the bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat just until blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition and beating just until blended.
Beat the egg whites with clean beaters on medium speed in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Add one quarter of the whites to the batter and fold in using a whisk or a rubber spatula. Continue to gently fold in the whites, one quarter at a time, being careful not to overmix.
Pour the batter over the lemon slices and gently smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Loosen the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula all around, invert it onto a heat-proof serving platter, and leave the pan over the cake for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and serve the lemon upside-down cake warm, cut into wedges.