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Chocolate Nut Upside-Down Cake

Scott Phillips

Servings: eight to ten.

For the toasted nuts, I like a mixture of whole hazelnuts (roughly chopped after toasting and skinning), slivered almonds, and large walnut pieces. This cake is easiest to cut with a serrated knife at room temperature. It’s still delicious a day after baking, but I can’t guarantee it will be around that long.


For the caramel:

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. water

For the nuts:

  • 1-1/4 cups toasted assorted unsalted nuts (see note above)

For the cake:

  • 6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on ten servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 490
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 250
  • Fat (g): 28
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 110
  • Sodium (mg): 150
  • Carbohydrates (g): 56
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 8


  • Heat the oven to 350°F and lightly butter the sides of a 9×2-inch round cake pan.

Make the caramel:

  • In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and pour into the prepared pan, swirling to coat the bottom evenly. Scatter in the nuts evenly and gently press them in.

Make the cake:

  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar; continue beating until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the butter and mix on low speed just until the flour disappears. Add the buttermilk and mix until just blended. Gently mix in the remaining flour. Scoop spoonfuls of batter onto the nuts and gently spread the batter evenly in the pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to settle the ingredients.
  • Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Immediately run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan. Set a flat serving plate on top of the pan and invert the cake. Let the inverted pan rest for about 3 minutes to let the topping settle. Gently remove the pan and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • danazia | 03/29/2021

    Oh my, verrrrry dangerous cake indeed! I baked it pretty much as the recipe was written but had to add some melted bittersweet chocolate due to not having enough cocoa powder. It turned out like a fudgy nutty caramel brownie cake that was a HUGE HIT at my mother’s 86th birthday. Presented great and was a lot easier than a towering birthday cake but the same impact. I highly recommend! Will be making again but next time I think I’ll make more caramel for the nuts, it was almost not enough......

  • harpchick | 11/10/2011

    Quite tasty & pretty but not my favourite chocolate cake recipe ever. My biggest complaint would be that the caramel spilled over and burned in the oven even though I used the recommended size of cake pan. I also envisioned the cake being a little more dense and "chocolatey" but the crumb is quite light almost like a cake from a mix. That said - everyone who ate it quite enjoyed it! I used a combination of hazelnuts and slivered almonds. photo at https://www.finecooking.com/item/37834/recipe-13-chocolate-nut-upside-down-cake

  • KelChez | 01/28/2010

    Absolutely divine! As a chocolate, caramel, and nut lover I couldn't have been more in love with this sweet concoction! Will definitely make again and will probably eat too much of it ;) Highly recommend to everyone!!!

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