Saturday, October 1, 2011

CSA Cooking: Red Pepper Upside Down Cake

Vegan MoFo, we meet again! My theme for this year's MoFo is going to be cooking with the local, organic produce from my Maryland CSA. Today's post is brought to you by yesterday's cake. I was attending a "pepper" themed potluck and wanted to bring a dish that departed from your typical savory pepper fare. Enter: upside down cake. I can't take credit for the idea, but I'm the one who made it vegan. This recipe is sure to impress.

The original recipe is from, ironically, No Recipes. Instead of making a corn-based cake of masa harina like No Recipes, I used cornbread. The very best cornbread I've found is Trader Joe's corn bread mix, subbing nut milk and flax instead of the milk/eggs. Use any cornbread recipe you like, just add extra sugar and a bit of vanilla.

Vegan Pepper Upside-Down Cake
  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 1 T water
  • 4 T Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Your favorite corn bread recipe + 1/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp vanilla extract
Remove the tops of the peppers and slice into quarters lengthwise after removing seeds and white membranes. Place on a baking sheet with skin side up. Broil on high until charred and almost completely black.  Remove from oven and place in sealed plastic bag. The steam will help loosen the skins as they cool. Once cool, peel the skins from the pepper strips.

Preheat oven according to your cornbread recipe. Place water and saffron in a small bowl; let rest. 
Slice pepper strips into thin triangles. Grease the bottom of a 9" pan and arrange the strips in a radial pattern.

Warm Earth Balance on stove at medium heat until melted. Add brown sugar and cinnamon, stir until sugar is completely melted. Pour caramel mixture over the pepper strips.

For the cornbread: make per your recipe's instructions. Remember to add your extra sugar, vanilla, AND the saffron/water mixture. The saffron supplies a very unique and lovely flavor. Pour the cornbread batter over the peppers/caramel, and smooth the top. 

Bake per cornbread instructions. After removing from oven, allow to cool enough to touch, then flip onto a plate. Voila! 


  1. This looks so awesome! I have never heard of or seen a red bell pepper cake, but it seems like such a cool idea.

  2. Sooooooooooooo pretty. Is it sweet? Savoury? Combination of the two? I can't imagine what it tastes like.
    Happy MoFo'ing

  3. That looks fantastic, like Jeni, I'd like to know if it's sweet/savoury or a bit of both?

  4. It's a sweet cake... the roasted peppers in caramel have a smokey/sweet flavor, and the cornbread batter has extra sugar as well.

  5. Wow - this looks so awesome. I've never seen/heard of anything like this before! Awesome!

  6. So beautiful! What a great idea!

  7. I made this, and it was really sweet. I'd make again, but half the amount of sugar.

  8. Sarah, it's meant to be a dessert, so the brown sugar syrup is sweet. You can use less syrup to taste.