May 14, 2013

Starfruit Upside Down Cake with Cardamom Rum Glaze

Disclosure: At press time, I am a contracted employee of Frieda's Specialty Produce. Some products are given to me as samples, some are leftover from a photo shoot, and some I purchase from an employee sale for personal use.  My opinion on this blog whether it's about Frieda's products or anything else are all my own and does not reflect that of my employer's. 

I've known Starfruit my entire life, having grown up in Thailand. I've seen them around all the time. But frankly, I don't recall having eaten any.  At least not in the past 20 years.  I got to taste it for the first time in recent memory a couple of weeks ago as we tried in vain to make a Vine for Star Wars Day.

Darth Stitch and the destruction of Starfruit

We're now producing the new Specialty Produce 101 YouTube video for Starfruit and I was tasked to see if we can make something different with them outside of blending them into a smoothie or adding them into a fruit salad.

To be honest, there are not a lot of recipes out there for Starfruit that look appetizing or are simple. But then I read that Starfruit can be used instead of pineapples in some recipes.  And it seems I've stumbled on a winner on Epicurious.

The recipe calls for ground cardamom and comes with a warning that many people feel that 3 teaspoons of ground cardamom are too overpowering.  I already have cardamom PODS--green AND black!--in my pantry from my faux-Indian cooking, but I thought I probably should pick up a thing of ground cardamom anyway.  Then I saw the whopping $13 price tag. Never mind!

There has got to be a way around this!  Suddenly, I remembered my cardamom-infused bourbon I made a while ago for a cocktail.  So I did just that with the rum needed for the recipe.

The result is just a hint of cardamom that lets a little bit of pineapple shine through, a warmth that compliments the refreshing taste of the cooked Starfruit, and something just a tad savory to cut through the chewy sweet caramel.

Vacation on plate, I tell you. - Starfruit Upside Down Cake

Starfruit Upside Down Cake with Cardamom Rum Glaze
Adapted from Epicurious Pineapple Upside Down Cake

You'll need a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet for this.

Cardamom-infused Rum

Crush 3 cardamom pods in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of rum. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Discard the pods and seeds.


1 large Starfruit or 2 small ones
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Thoroughly wash Starfruit and slice it crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat until sugar is melted and the mixture is sticky, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange Starfruit on top of sugar mixture.  Set aside.

Starfruit Upside Down Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon cardamom-infused rum (recipe above)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice*
2 tablespoon cardamom-infused rum for sprinkling

*I used the juice from in a can of pineapple rings in pineapple JUICE--NOT the syrup!  Brandon loves pineapples so I just poured out my 1/2 cup of juice, and dump the rest of the content into a container for him to eat later. :)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Sift together flour, making powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually add sugar, and eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of cardamom-infused rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Put a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate. Replace any fruit stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of cardamom-infused rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

Starfruit Upside Down Cake

I think next week I might repeat this recipe but using Zululand Queen Baby Pineapples instead!


PeachyN said...

I'm definitely going to try this recipe...if I can find any starfruits here at all :P

OakMonster said...

Original recipe use fresh pineapple so you can do that instead. :)

Maryanne @ the little epicurean said...

YUM! I've never seen starfruit used like that before. It sure looks delicious :)

OakMonster said...

Hi Maryanne! Thank you. We read somewhere that the starfruit can be used in pineapple recipes. So we gave it a shot!