Take advantage of langka season by making this delicious Langka Upside Down Cake! Pairs perfectly with Chocolate Caramel Latte.
A good time for langka
A couple of weeks ago my Mom brought home some amazingly delicious langka (aka jackfruit) from Tagaytay. It jolted me into this realization that I had not yet been able to share the Langka Upside Down Cake from The Little Epicurean blog that I made a while back. Because gosh this cake is fabulous! Despite having some issues with the sugar for my topping, the cake turned out pretty spectacular.
Since I didn’t get to post about it right away, I made a promise to myself that once langka season rolled around again, I would not miss the opportunity to talk about this cake! It is a must try, especially if you love langka and you love cake. And perhaps like me, you’ll take your last bite while thinking: ‘Why isn’t Langka Upside-Down Cake more common in this country?’
You know, I realized I seem to always be a step behind in terms of timing my blog posts. I often enjoy making seasonal recipes, but never make that extra effort to get the post out WHILE the main ingredient is still actually in season. This is something I’m hoping to address from this point on. It just feels so wrong not to be able to maximize seasonal ingredients, especially fruits like langka, when they’re as sweet as they are when in season.
Ironically, langka and I didn’t use to be friends. When I was a kid, I did not really care for this fruit. As I grew older and my tastes widened up, I began to see that there are more benefits to liking things than disliking them. And so here I am, years later, making Langka Upside Down Cake with a fruit I uses to not really like. Ain’t it nice?
That said, I think this Langka Upside Down Cake is one of the best things you could make with langka. Maybe just second to the Langka Ice Cream recipe which I previously posted about on my Instagram Reels. (But I might be biased since I do love ice cream more than cake lol.)
A fabulous Langka Upside Down Cake
I highly recommend using FRESH langka for this recipe. I’m not knowledgeable about langka varieties at all, so I cannot give any specific suggestions in this area. Any variety you enjoy eating on its own will work well though. Just try your best to go for fresh rather than the pre-sweetened bottled kind used in halo-halo. While you can probably get away with using those as a topping for your cake– sans the caramel component because it will be way too sweet!– I think the flavor will be best if fresh langka is used.
Now the only thing I had a problem with as I made this recipe was actually that caramel topping. When I was melting the sugar and butter together, I had my heat on way too high to hasten the process. The result was that my sugar and butter did not melt evenly at almost the same time. Sugar can sometimes be a finicky ingredient; sensitive to sudden temperature changes especially when being used to make caramel and toffee. So basically, my very hot caramel mixture separated the moment I placed it into my prepared room temperature pans.
Thankfully, since this is an upside down cake, I felt relatively confident the mess-up wouldn’t be too obvious in the finished product. Sure, there are unmelted brown sugar clumps on my topping, but I think it adds a rustic look to the cake lol. So anyway, the lesson of the story is: Melt the butter and sugar low and slow over medium-low heat. Don’t do this step in a hurry! Another option if you’re nervous about the process is to do it like Recipe Tin Eats in her Pineapple Upside Down recipe. She melts the butter first, then evenly sprinkles the brown sugar over the butter. This is the safest way to do upside down cake toppings, in my opinion. (Normally this is how I do it anyway but I wanted to try a new technique this day.)
In any case, I think it’s a testament to how good this recipe is that despite the mess-up the cake still came out pretty awesome. The langka flavor and scent permeates the entire cake, down to every crumb, and it complements the coconut tones of the cake base SO WELL. (This recipe uses coconut milk in the batter.) Most of the sweetness comes from the topping and not the cake itself, which is nice, though I doubt anybody will complain about the caramelized langka topping being too sweet…
And you know what? It’s even better the day after. With a cold glass of Chocolate Caramel Latte.
Notes about this recipe
- This cake can be baked in a variety of pan sizes but baking time will have to be adjusted. I baked mine in two 6-inch pans for around 30 minutes. The original recipe calls for an 8-inch round cake pan, but this cake can also be baked in an 9-inch round or square pan for 35 to 40 minutes. I suggest that you start checking cake for doneness at the 30-minute mark. I like to use a toothpick or cake tester and poke the cake in the center. If it comes out with minimal moist crumbs, I take it out of the oven. I don’t like to wait until the toothpick is completely clean because sometimes the cake will dry out as it continues to cook with the residual heat out of the oven. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter then the cake needs more time, so let it bake a few minutes more.
- Use a regular cake pan; not a springform pan. This cake has a caramel component that bakes at the bottom. There’s a real chance this will leak if you use a springform pan, and that can spell all sorts of trouble. Don’t forget to grease your pan also.
- Melt topping components low and slow. Using a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt your butter and sugar for your topping over medium-low heat. This will give the sugar a chance to melt more evenly. If you go high heat at once, the sugar and butter will appear to be melted and combined, but as soon as you take it off the heat it will likely separate similar to what happened to me. This is due to the sudden temperature change. If this step makes you nervous, here’s an alternate procedure: Melt butter separately then pour into you cake pan. Sprinkle sugar over top evenly before arranging your langka. (Similar procedure to this Recipe Tin Eats recipe.)
- Do not stir your batter more than you need to. This is key for pretty much every cake recipe: DO NOT OVER-MIX THE BATTER. Especially after the last addition of flour, stop mixing once the last streak of flour disappears into the batter. As long as you fold your ingredients in with bigger strokes while scraping your spatula against the bottom of the bowl each time, you can ensure no dry ingredients will be left unmixed at the bottom.
- Let the cake drop out of the pan on its own during unmolding process. To unmold upside down cake, first run a knife around the edges to detach any stuck parts. Place your serving plate atop the opening of the cake pan, then flip the pan over so it sits bottom-side up on your serving vessel. Now just leave your cake to drop down onto the plate on its own. No need to shake it or anything. You’ll hear a plop eventually. If any of your toppings get stuck on the pan, just scoop it out and rearrange on top of the cake. (It’s usually easy to get away with it with upside down cakes!)
- This Langka Upside Down Cake is best eaten at room temperature. Like many others, this cake tends to harden up when chilled so bring it back to room temp before eating. At room temp, the cake will be soft again. Make sure to use a sharp knife to slice the cake as the langka becomes quite soft and fibrous once caramelized. Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. ENJOY!
Langka Upside Down Cake
For the langka caramel layer
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- Pinch of fine sea salt
- fresh langka or jackfruit, as needed
For the coconut cake
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspon fine sea salt
- ½ cup coconut milk
Make the caramel layer
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9- or 8-inch round cake pan, or two 6-inch pans, or an 8- or 9-inch square pan.
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together butter, brown sugar, and salt. A heavy-bottomed saucepan is recommended here for even melting and to prevent butter from separating from the sugar due to sudden temperature changes. Bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and pour mixture into prepared cake pan.*
- Arrange langka pieces, cut side up, on top of caramel mixture, until entire surface is covered. Set aside.
Make the cake
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, then mix until smooth. Scrape down bowl as needed. In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Using a spatula, fold dry mixture into the wet mixture in two additions, alternating with coconut milk. Mix until just combined and there are no longer any dry streaks of flour in the batter. Batter will be thick.
- Spoon batter atop the langka in the cake pan. Use a spatula to spread until langka is completely covered. Try to make it as even as possible.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on size of your pan) until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Start checking at the 30-minute mark.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Run a mini offset spatula or knife along the perimeter of cake to loosen from pan, then place serving plate over cake tin and flip. Leave the cake to drop into the serving plate on its own. If anything gets stuck in the pan, just scoop it out and rearrange atop the cake.
- Allow cake to cool to room temperature before slicing. Use a sharp knife as the jackfruit will be quite soft and fibrous. Serve with a glass of Simple Chocolate Caramel Latte (recipe below).
- Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. This cake is best eaten at room temperature.
Watch how it's made
- I used Monin syrups for this drink. This recipe is a super easy way to up a latte if you have the syrups lying around at home.
- You can froth the milk for a prettier drink. The espresso will layer with regular milk, but frothed milk always makes drinks look nicer right?
Simple Chocolate Caramel Latte
- 1 Tablespoon chocolate sauce, homemade or store-bought
- 1 Tablespoon caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought
- ¾ cup milk, frothed if desired
- 2 shots espresso or ¼ cup strong coffee
- Whipped cream and/or chocolate shavings, for optional topping
- To bottom of your serving glass, add in the syrups. Add the ice, then pour the milk on top. Pour in the coffee. The layering will look nicer if frothed milk is used.
- If desired, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Stir and enjoy with the Langka Upside Down Cake.
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