Upside-down, right side up

Plums are glutting everywhere at the moment.

I took a share in a fruit crop late last year – a weekly delivery of fruit each week from late November into May – which has been great. Terrific quality and some really unusual varieties.

But at this stage of the season, all I’m getting is plums. All different kinds. I’ve made plum gin with a petite variety, and I’ve dried a bunch, frozen a few, stewed some more, shared a few around and eaten a bunch. But there are still more.

Luckily I found a recipe. Plums and cake is one of those magical combinations. I remember from childhood, the particular version of a yeast cake topped with fruit and everyone’s favourite was plums. Nothing compared to it.

Melted butter and sugar at the bottom of the cake pan.

This one is a little different, but it’s so easy and perfect. I’ve made it several times now, in two different places and two different ovens, and there is definitely a difference between ovens and techniques. I’ll explain what I did. All the versions were delicious.

I got this recipe from Taste, with some minor variations (because I can’t help myself). It has been a big hit with everyone who’s eaten it.

Tight layer of fruit above the butter and sugar.

Upside-down plum cake

50g melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown but either is ok)
A bunch of plums, of any kind
125g soft butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted

This uses a 22cm cake pan. I’ve found there can be some butter leakage in the springform variety, so when you line the base with baking paper, let the paper tuck up the sides a little. You don’t need to line the sides.

Smooth the cake mix over the plums.

• In the bottom of the cake tin, pour 50g of melted butter, and sprinkle the brown sugar across.

• Cut the plums in half and put in a tight layer across the bottom of the pan, skin side down. The original calls for blood plums, but I just used what I had.

• Beat the sugar, 125g butter and vanilla til pale and creamy. This was the section I skimped on most in the best version I made of this cake. When I beat the mix for 5 minutes on high (as the recipe demanded), I ended up with a slightly soggy version, though it was probably more to do with the oven. For the best version, I mixed it a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, and then cooked it in an oven that I think has the truest temperature reading. Take from that what you will.

• Mix in 3 eggs one by one, and mix thoroughly after each. Then, using a big metal spoon, fold in the almond mix and the flour.

right side up and looking great.

• Smooth the mix over the top of the plums.

• Bake at 180C for about 50 minutes, til cooked. When you take it out, let it sit in the pan for about 10 minutes.

Serve with cream ice ream or yoghurt. It’s fabulous while it’s still warm, but excellent cold too.


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