Upside-Down Pecan Cake
If you like, once you have zested the orange for the batter, you could cut the fruit into sections to serve alongside the moist and crunchy cake.
- 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (about 5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet; toast until crisp, about 7 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop 1/2 cup pecans. Set remaining aside.
Place 2 tablespoons butter in a 9-inch round cake pan; heat in the oven until melted, about 3 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over butter. Scatter chopped nuts over sugar; set aside.
In a food processor, process reserved pecans and flour until nuts are very finely ground. Set aside. With an electric mixer, beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and remaining cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
In a small bowl, combine flour mixture, baking powder, and salt; fold into egg mixture. Stir in zest. Pour into prepared pan, smoothing top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan; invert onto a rack to cool completely, bottom side up so the butter-pecan layer is on top.