Mystery Bay Farm's Quince Upside Down Cake


An annual fall treat, this quince upside-down cake is worth baking for the aroma alone, but the taste is just as divine. Recipe adapted from Chez Panisse.


  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter, softened

  • 3/4 C light brown sugar

  • 2-3 large quinces baked until soft, then sliced

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 C granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, separated

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla paste (you can use regular vanilla extract + some seeds from a whole bean)

  • 1/2 C milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a 12-in ovenproof skillet, melt 4 T of the butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly in the skillet. Turn off the heat and arrange the Quince wedges in the skillet in two concentric circles. Layer them thickly, as they seem to shrink in baking.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, beat the remaining stick of butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat in the vanilla. Incorporate the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites so as not to burst the tiny bubbles. Spread the batter over the quince in the skillet and bake for about 55 min, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 15 min, then turn it out onto a plate. Cut the cake into wedges and serve warm with whipped cream or at room temperature.

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