Italian Plum Upside-Down Ricotta Cupcakes

Italian Plum Upside-Down Ricotta Cupcakes

These are very Italian cupcakes. The list of the ingredients speaks for this well. There are fresh ricotta cheese and cornmeal, ground pine nuts and Italian prune-plums. The upside-down idea is not an exclusive American invention either. Italians have been flipping their cakes for a long time (crostata invertina (for example, with rhubarb and anise) is a wonderful and well known Italian treat).

The cupcakes are incredibly tender, almost melt-in-your-mouth. Ricotta and ground pine nuts contribute to their richness and added cornmeal adds a light crunch. The cupcakes are not too sweet with just a hint of honey, and pleasant tartness from fresh Italian plums. I blogged before about my forever love to everything upside-down. I love the moistness and gooey caramel topping, as well as the using of fresh fruit. In this recipe I substitute commonly used light brown sugar for more flavorful Muscovado. It does improve already nice taste. The cupcakes are terrific warm from the oven, served with a generous dollop of mascarpone cheese. But even when completely cooled they are very, very good.

Since this month Sugar High Friday theme is “Cupcakes” I’m submitting this recipe as my entry for this event. Make sure to check Fanny’s blog who is this month SHF host. She’s already posted her own cupcake recipes which are very original and absolutely delicious.

I’m also submitting it to La Cucina Italiana event.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted + about 1 ½ tbsp melted butter for brushing molds
  • ½ cup lightly packed Muscovado sugar
  • 6 Italian prune-plums, ripe but firm, medium size; cut vertically in half, stones removed
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • ¼ cup finely ground lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, put through a sieve, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • Mascarpone cheese for serving

Preparation:

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter 12 regular size muffin molds. If your muffin pan is not a non-stick one or if you’ve had problems taking muffins out of the molds before, cut 12 small circles from parchment paper and fit into the bottom of each mold.

Spoon 1 tsp of melted butter into each mold. Then top with 2 tsp of lightly packed Muscovado sugar. Put the half of the plum, cut side down, on top of the sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, ground nuts, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest together, rub with your fingertips to release the lemon oil. Add the stick of butter and beat with electric beaters on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the honey and beat for a minute to blend well. Beat in the ricotta cheese. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon juice, and extracts. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula to avoid an overbeating.

Divide the butter between the muffin molds. The batter should be just a little below the rim of the molds. Place the muffin pan onto a baking sheet and slide into the preheated oven. Bake for about 23-25 minutes, until light golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool on a cooling rack for no more than 5 minutes. Cover with another rack and flip the muffin pan over. Carefully lift the pan. Cool the cupcakes slightly and serve warm with the mascarpone cheese.

Italian Plum Upside-Down Ricotta Cupcakes

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38 Responses to “Italian Plum Upside-Down Ricotta Cupcakes”

  1. Oh, yummy! I love ricotta and plums, so those gorgeous cupcakes make me drool… Beautiful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Beautiful and rustic cupcakes you have there!! They are so season appropriate too! Rare and always good to see a cupcake without a an Everest’s worth of overly sweet frosting on top. Marvelous job!!

  3. I was just thinking of doing something with plums…your little cakes look so yummy!!

  4. wow self-icing cupcakes. this is brilliant. and they must taste so good.

    xx fanny

  5. they look so gooey, moist and delicious…

  6. those look amazing . . . i bet you could do that with a ricotta cheesecake too . . . great job

  7. There’s a series of upside down desserts in this month’s Bon Appetit, these look like they belong in there!

  8. Beautiful. These look so scrumptous!

  9. They´re like cute individual tatins! So Italian, must be delicious with the cornmeal in the batter!

  10. These look like I could pop a dozen in my mouth without blinking an eye!! It looks like we both had pine nuts on the mind!

  11. Rosa, thank you very much!

    Christy, thank you! I usually don’t mind frosting (if it’s good :) but these are quicker.

    Anita, thank you! It’s probably about time to switch to pears, apples and pumpkins but I can’t force myself yet…

    Fanny, thank you! They did tasted great :)

    Aran, thank you so much! They taste as they look – moist and gooey :)

    Lauren, thank you for the complement! I think it’s a very good idea – to turn a cheesecake upside-down. To tell the truth I like my cheesecakes crustless, with something crispy on a side.

    Brilynn, thank you! I haven’t seen this month Bon Appetit yet; sounds like an interesting issue.

    Leslie, thank you very much!

    Rita, thank you! I love the cornmeal crunch here.

    Helen, thanks a lot! I’ll go and check what you’ve made with pine nuts :) I love these nuts, and these are the only nuts my son can eat.

  12. I picked up the October issues of Bon Appetit a day or two ago and they have a whole bunch of upside-down recipes I’ve been wanting to try. :] Woo for upside-down food!

  13. What gorgeous little treats! I love that they are upside down!

  14. what beautiful little treats! to be honest, i wish i was italian at least once a day, but it hasn’t happened yet. :)

  15. I can’t wait to try these, they look too gorgeous :)

  16. They look sooooo delicious!!!!

    I try to imagine the combination of ricotta and plums on a cupcake…

    Fantastic!

  17. Gabriela, you are the second who mentioned this magazine issue :) I do have to get a copy.

    Melody, thank you very much! I happen to love upside-down cakes :)

    Grace, thank you! It hasn’t happened to me either :) Although I wish the same thing :)

    Marion, thank you very much! I’ll be so glad if you give the recipe a try.

    Leonor, thank you so much! You are too kind :)

  18. These look really, really good Vera. Love the combination of ingredients.

  19. These sound amazing and sophisticated. A perfect way to end any Italian meal. I love ricotta and plums, plus marscapone is a nice addition. They look soo tender.

  20. Hi Vera, I answered your question on my blog but I thought I’d come on over to check these out! ;-) They look utterly delghtful! I would love to have them as a submission for the contest. All you need to do is link to the La Cucina Italiana post and tell us why you think they are so authentically Italian. Plums are my current favorite too!

  21. I love ricotta, these are so cute!

  22. Oh, Vera, how gorgeous are these! Love the oh so yummy look of that caramel. I also love to use fresh fruit in desserts, and plums are one of my favorites!

  23. Fabulous once again! Plums, pine nuts, honey, ricotta, what more could a girl ask for? Oh yeah, the cuteness factor which these definitely have in abundance.

  24. Vera, the cupcakes are fabulous!! Ricotta chesse and plums, ummmm!! so delicious!!

  25. these look gorgeous. Nice photos as usual.

  26. Vera,
    Your cup cakes look absolutely luscious, I must try this one. So, you like everything upside-down? you must try tarte tatin, it’s my favorite. I have a good one. Just check it out if you have the time. @ http://elrasbaking.blogspot.com/2008/01/tart-tatin.html

  27. Very unusual – very interesting. The upside down idea is great – it has to be the new rage.

  28. What a great idea. This reminds me of an Italian plum, cinnamon cake I’ve made before, but the cupcakes are much cuter!

  29. I can’t believe how good EVERYTHING you make looks! These are no exception!

  30. Ooooh, what a yummy little treat. You’ve brought cupcakes to a whole new level. Beautiul!

  31. I just bought a huge container of Italian prune plums. These have cornmeal in them, that counts as Southern doesn’t it? I hope so because this is my kind of dessert!

  32. Eileen, thank you very much!

    MangerLaVille, thank you! I do have a soft spot for Italian food :)

    Meeta, thank you for the complement, and for the answer! I’ll add the explanation and link to your post within a day or two.

    Thip, thank you! It’s hard not to love ricotta :)

    Miri, thank you very much! Plums are in abundance here now, all possible colors and shapes :)

    Lisa, thank you so much for your words! It’s very sweet of you :)

    Ana, thanks a lot!

    Natalie, thank you very much!

    Elra, thank you! I love tarte tatin. I haven’t made it for a while though. I will certainly check your recipe, thank you.

    Giz, thank you very much! This is more of the old classic, with some twist :)

    Lisa, thank you! Your cake sounds yummy :)

    Cate, thank you very much! You are too kind as always!

    Jacque, thank you!

    Kim, thank you! Sure, it can be considered as Southern dessert :)

  33. Looks yummy. I love upside down things too, but haven’t baked as many of them as you. These are very original cupcakes indeed :)

  34. Sounds great with mascarpone… I like how the top (or is it bottom) gets all moist from the plum juice

  35. Y, Jude, thank you very much!

  36. I have to try these. I love the recipe and they look really good. Going onto my must make list.

  37. Camille, thank you! I’ll be so glad if try these!

  38. Your food looks absolutely exquisite! I made these tonight and I’m hoping they look as beautiful as yours and of course I hope they taste good.

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