Plum Upside-Down Cake

Plum Upside-Down CakeDun Gone Plum Crazy
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s plum season. Beautiful black plums, red plums, French plums and all sorts of pluots are available for your eating pleasure pretty much anywhere fruit is sold. I love plums. In my opinion, they are best when they are still slightly firm so that the skin is still a bit tart but the flesh is super sweet. Yum!

In my yard, I have essentially two plum trees. One is a hybrid that combines a couple of varieties so its hard to say what type it is. The other is actually a pluot. Both are about 5 years old and neither one has produced any fruit…until this year.

Because we had a crazy amount of rain last year, my trees were loaded with fruit by May/June. I can’t tell you how excited I was. I went out there every day to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Each day they got bigger and bigger and when they finally started to change color and ripen I was vibrating with excitement and then one day, they were gone.

I don’t know if it was squirrels, rats or raccoons but my bumper crop vanished overnight with no evidence left behind. I was baffled and distraught and more than a little bit angry.

Since then I have been having to sooth my plum craving via the different varieties we have here at the store and also with what is available at the farmer’s market in my neighborhood. And, don’t get me wrong, the plums are great. But, it’s not the same as eating your own homegrown version right off of the tree.

Over the weekend I went plum crazy and bought more than we will be able to consume fresh so I plan on making this upside-down cake with what’s left over. There is never a bad time for cake and I will especially enjoy it with a cup of coffee looking out my window watching the squirrels eat the majority of this year’s pomegranate crop…sigh.

Plum Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
Yields one 9-inch cake

For the Plums
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 pounds medium-sized plums (about 6), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges

For the Cake
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten
Whipped cream, for serving

Prepare the plums
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring it to a boil without stirring. Cook the sugar water over high heat, washing down the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush, until an amber-colored caramel forms (about 5 to 7 minutes).

Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the butter. Immediately pour the caramel into a 9-inch cake pan that is 2-inches deep. Carefully arrange the plum wedges in the caramel in concentric circles. Set aside.

Make the cake
In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream with the milk and vanilla.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. At low speed, beat in the butter until the mixture resembles moist crumbs (about 30 seconds).

Beat in the eggs at low speed until incorporated, then beat the batter at medium-high speed until light and fluffy while scraping down the side of the bowl (about 1 minute).

At medium speed, beat in the sour cream mixture until the batter is smooth (about 30 seconds).

Scrape the batter and gingerly spread over the plums in an even layer.

Bake the cake
Place the cake pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until golden and the cake springs back when touched (about 55 to 60 minutes).

Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream.

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