|Plum Upside Down Cake: Top with Cream, or Not|
Recipe by Bruce’s Mom
Collecting and preserving family recipes was one of my motivations in creating Seasonal Eating. Rarely are these recipes written down in step-by-step format. Often they are written as quick reminders to a cook who has made the recipe many times and doesn’t need details. And when this cook passes away, we inherit the notes, make the recipe, and it doesn’t taste quite the same. Yet with each experiment we fine-tune the process and sometimes the ingredients, until our results match our memories. My husband Bruce says that this cake is very close to his Mom’s Satsuma Plum Upside-down Cake, even with the substitution of yellow plums.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a Satsuma plum tree (yet). However, we do have a very overloaded tree in full production mode with extremely flavorful yellow plums. Our plums are considerably juicier than Satsumas, so my thought is that you can use just about any plum. It’s a particularly productive plum year here in California, and the harvest will continue throughout the month, so you might want to try this recipe a few times, with different types of plums, and see which you like best.
|Anatomy of an Upside Down Cake|
serves about 10
½ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
10 medium plums, pitted and quartered
1¼ cup unbleached flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. allspice
½ cup soft butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8-inch square baking pan or 9-inch round cake pan. Stir together granulated sugar and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Sprinkle a little more than half of this mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. Arrange quartered plums over the sugar layer, skin side up. Sprinkle evenly with remaining sugar mixture.
Combine the dry ingredients: whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Set aside.
Cream the butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy. I use an electric mixer. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
Beat flour mixture into butter mixture by hand a little at a time until well blended. Spoon over plums and spread in pan with rubber spatula. Batter should be slightly thicker on the edges than in the middle.