Chef Cat Cora is a busy mom of four sons, Zoran, 7, Caje, 4, Nash 2 and Thatcher, 2, who is almost always on the road.
You may know Cat from her days as the first female Iron Chef, but she is also a restaurant owner, the author of several cookbooks and the founder of Chefs for Humanity, a not-for-profit organization she created, after the 2004 Tsunami, to reduce hunger around the world.
Cat was in town last month to talk about her new line of environmentally-friendly and practical Starfrit cookware. I got a chance to talk with her about what she, her wife, Jennifer, and their boys like to do when they get family time. Here’s Cat’s perfect family day.
“Because it’s still fairly warm in Santa Barbara, where we live, we get some of our friends together with their kids and go out on a big beach day.
We lay a blanket down and we take the boogie boards out. Then, we’ll take out some different things to snack on and later on we’ll maybe open a bottle of wine when it gets to be a little bit later in the evening. Then everyone comes back to the house. Right now the kids and all of us are really into ribs. Ribs on the grill, great salads, some beans on the side, some coleslaw, some things like that. Just do a really light, fun rib dinner.”
Cat was also kind enough to share her recipe for this delicious cake.
Raspberry-lemon Poppyseed Upside-down Cake
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 larger lemon, preferably Meyer
- 2 cups frozen raspberries, fresh or frozen (do not thaw)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from lemon used for topping)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup buttermilk (shake before measuring)
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and position a rack in the middle.
For the topping: Melt the butter and the brown sugar together over medium-high heat in a 1-inch skillet with an ovenproof handle. Boil for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat. Let cool for 2 minutes. Grate 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest and set aside for the cake, then use a paring knife to off all the peel and white pith. Cut the lemon into ¼-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices decoratively on the brown-sugar topping in the skillet. Fill in all the spaces with the raspberries, pressing on them gently so they sink into the topping. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
For the cake: In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the dry ingredients together onto a sheet of waxed paper, turn the mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just until the batter is smooth.
Pour the batter over the raspberry-lemon topping in the skillet and gently spread it to the edges.
Bake the cake until the center feel springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife of small spatula around the edge of the skillet, loosening the cake. Invert a serving plate over the skillet and turn the cake out onto the plate. If any of the topping sticks to the skillet, carefully lift it off with the spatula and serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream, if you like.