A system composed of two cubic nonlinear oscillators with close natural frequencies, and thus displaying a 1:1 internal resonance, is studied both theoretically and experimentally, with a special emphasis on the free oscillations and the backbone curves. The instability regions of uncoupled solutions are derived and the bifurcation scenario as a function of the parameters of the problem is established, showing in an exhaustive manner all possible solutions. The backbone curves are then experimentally measured on a circular plate, where the asymmetric modes are known to display companion configurations with close eigenfrequencies. A control system based on a Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) is used to measure the backbone curves and also the frequency response function in the forced and damped case, including unstable branches. The model is used for a complete identification of the unknown parameters and an excellent comparison is drawn out between theoretical prediction and measurements.