The methods we use to make many traditional baked goods, like simple butter cakes, change over time – and not always for the better. The old technique used for this upside-down pudding is called the "flour batter" method, and gives a finer crumb. To do it, beat half the flour with the butter before adding the eggs. This causes the flour particles to separate slightly during baking and give the crumb a velvety texture that stays softer for longer.
300g pitted cherries, fresh or bottled
125g cherry or plum preserve
200g hazelnuts, roasted and skinned
225g dark brown sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
75g creme fraiche or thick sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
3 eggs, 60g each
1 tsp baking powder
1. Get a metal ovenproof skillet, about 20cm in diameter, and place it on the hob. Place the fresh cherries in the pan, barely cover with water then simmer until the cherries are almost dry and coated in cherry syrup. If you have bottled cherries just add to the pan and cook until the bottling juice evaporates.
2. Add the cherry preserve, simmer until thick then remove from the heat.
3. Heat the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional).
4. Place the hazelnuts in a food processor with the sugar and grind finely. Tip these into a bowl, add the butter, brandy, creme fraiche, cocoa, vanilla and half the flour (measure it into another bowl then save the rest for later).
5. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture lightens a few shades and is light in texture.
6. Sift in the remaining flour and baking powder and fold through, then spoon mixture evenly over the cherries and bake for about 50 minutes until the middle is set. Leave to cool slightly before upturning onto a plate; serve with ice cream.