Maggie Beer’s Upside Down Grape Cake with Verjuice

This recipe was passed on to me by one of my best girlfriend’s, Bek. She is a great friend, a wonderful mother and a pretty impressive cook too! She actually makes a mean brownie but I thought I would share this recipe with you instead because it is so very simple. The ingredients are in our fridges and pantries every day of the week and it takes no time to whip up as a quick after school treat or if friends drop in unexpectedly. Which is probably why I’ve been served this many times in her kitchen! It’s old-school comfort food best served fresh out of the oven with a cup of tea.


Verjuice Syrup

500ml 2 cup Verjuice plus additional 2 tbspn

300g 1 1/4 cup caster sugar

3 bay leaves

1 12cm sprig fresh rosemary

8 strips lemon rind

1 10cm sprig fresh lemon thyme


Upside Down Cake Batter

300g white grapes

220g 1 cup caster sugar

4 free range eggs separated

3g 1 tspn lemon rind

80ml 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

80ml 1/3 cup Verjuice

150g 1 cup plain flour

3/4 tspn baking powder


Preheat oven to 180?C. Line the base and sides of a 20 centimetre solid based cake tin, with greaseproof paper. Ensure the collar of the grease proof paper is 3-4 centimetre higher than sides of the tin.

For Verjuice syrup, place Verjuice, sugar and bay leaves in a large shallow saucepan approximately 28 centimetre in diameter. Bring to a rapid boil over a high heat. Boil for 6–8 minutes or until the syrup begins to turn a caramel colour, add the rosemary and lemon rind. Continue cooking for 2–3 minutes over a high heat until deep golden brown, but not burnt.

Remove the Verjuice syrup from heat and stir in additional two tablespoons of Verjuice.

Immediately pour the syrup into the cake pan to prevent further cooking. Arrange bay leaves, lemon rind and rosemary and place grapes on top of syrup.

For the cake batter, in a mixing bowl beat half the sugar with egg yolks and lemon rind until thick and pale. With the mixer running slowly pour Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Verjuice into the egg yolk mixture. Mix for 30 seconds to combine.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the batter and beat for 1 minute or until mixture is smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Place egg whites into a clean mixing bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Continue to whisk, gradually adding remaining sugar. Continue to whisk until sugar has dissolved.

Gently fold in the meringue 1/3 at a time into the batter mixture using a metal spoon.

Pour mixture into a prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 45 minutes to an hour. Before turning out pull out or cut off baking paper collar so it is level with the cake.

Turn out on plate with a lip to catch the Verjuice syrup, and remove baking paper base before serving.

*Stock image.