Mother Earth Gardener

Apricot and Cardamom Upside-down Pudding

Photo by Nassima Rothacker

It may seem gratuitous to make an upside-down pudding in a frying pan, but this method is somewhat of a pleasant surprise. The direct heat means that the bottom (which will, when inverted, become the top) becomes deeply caramelised and chewy, then you add the lid and the rest of the cake steams and becomes dense like a pudding. I think this method would work with most fruits – I’m tempted to try strawberries with black cardamom and orange next.

Serves 8–10


For the caramel base

  • 100g (3-1/2oz) caster sugar
  • 9-10 small apricots, halved and destoned 

For the batter

  • 170g (6oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 170g (6oz) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 170g (6oz) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cardamom

Crème fraîche, to serve


  1. Set a medium deep-sided frying or sauté pan over a high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sugar and allow it to melt into a rusty-coloured caramel. If the sugar starts to burn, just remove it from the heat and give it a gentle stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the apricot halves, cut-side down. Allow the apricots to cook gently while you make the cake batter.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until pale in colour and fluffy in texture – if you have a hand-held electric mixer this would be the right time to root it out. Add the eggs, flour and ground cardamom, and beat to a smooth batter. Dollop the batter on top of the apricots, then spread out as best you can using the back of a spoon. The beauty of this pudding lies solely in the eating; it wouldn’t win any awards for its good looks, so don’t worry if it’s a bit gnarly.
  3. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over a low heat for 30–35 minutes, or until the cake batter is just set. Flip onto a large plate or cake stand and serve with dollops of crème fraîche.

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Excerpted with permission from A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite and published by Kyle Books.

  • Published on Aug 23, 2019
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