Jackfruit, a massive fruit from Asia, hides pockets of vibrant yellow flesh that taste kinda like Juicy Fruit gum. By using it in an upside-down cake, Maneet Chauhan, chef of Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville, is able to caramelize the fruit, enhancing its tropical flavors, which pair perfectly with buttery cake and rich toffee sauce.
Though you can typically find fresh jackfruit in most Asian grocery stores (watch the video on how to break it down), feel free to substitute canned jackfruit, which is more readily available. If you do stumble upon the fresh variety, make sure it's ripe: The fruit should be bright yellow and fragrant.
To learn more, read "You Don't Know Jackfruit."
Jackfruit Upside-Down Cake
Recipe adapted from Maneet Chauhan, Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Nashville, TN
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus cooling time
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time
For the Caramel:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
½ cup granulated sugar
1 pound fresh jackfruit flesh, seeded and halved
For the Cake Batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, plus 3 yolks
For the Toffee Sauce:
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup light brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
Butter pecan ice cream
1. Make the caramel: Preheat the oven to 350º and grease a 9-inch cake pan. In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium-high heat, stirring as needed, until an amber caramel has formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the softened butter and cook, stirring constantly until emulsified, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately pour into the prepared cake pan, spreading to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Arrange the jackfruit, cut-side up, over the caramel.
2. Make the cake batter: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and yolks. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until a smooth batter is formed. Pour the batter over the jackfruit in an even layer and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
3. Bake until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it slightly cool on a wire wrack, 5 to 10 minutes. Then invert the cake onto a plate.
4. Meanwhile, make the toffee sauce: In a medium saucepan, bring the half-and-half, light brown sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture has slightly thickened, 4 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, vanilla and salt, and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and let cool completely.
5. To serve: slice the cake and divide between plates. Drizzle with the toffee sauce and serve with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream.