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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Topsy Turvy Plum Ginger Cake (aka: Upside Down Cake)

Summer finds me wanting to buy every sort of seasonal fruit I can get my hands on. I'm always overwhelmed (and really overjoyed) by the gorgeous mounds of ripe fruits at the local farmer's market. I've had a pile of plums sitting in my kitchen for the past few days, because there are not enough to make jam out of (I really must make some jam soon) I've been juggling around a few other things that I could do with them. A few have been eaten as is and the rest I've decided to turn into one of my favorite cakes (I have a lot of favorite cakes, if you haven't noticed already). Now, I've always had pineapple upside down cake but have never tried any other fruit in it myself. I suppose I've always been worried that the pineapple would be the only fruit to work in this cake because it's very acidic and tart, any other fruit would be too sweet to work in the wonderful brown sugary But I decided to give it a try anyway. I found a recipe at Epicurious and didn't change much (I omitted the almond extract, as I'm not a big fan of it) and I'm adding a few little bits of crystallized ginger, cause I figure plums and ginger can't be too bad of a combo.

Plum Ginger Upside Down Cake (adapted from Epicurious recipe)
Makes one 9" cake round.

The Top (or...uh...I mean bottom for later):

6 Tbsp (3 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
6 large plums, halved, pitted, each half cut into 6 wedges

The Cake Bit:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup finely diced crystallized ginger (I actually found some candied
non-crystallized ginger at Trader Joe's and used's great for snacking too, much less sugar than the crystallized)
6 Tbsp (3 ounces) unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

whipping cream to dollop on top if you so desire

-Preheat oven to 350°F.
-In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium-low heat stir together the 6 ounces butter, the brown sugar and honey until everything is melted together into a nice goopy sauce.

-Pour this mixture into a buttered 9" circular cake pan. Arrange the plum slices on top of this in whatever pattern you desire (as you can see from my photo, my plums were just a wee bit too juicy, I think I would have been better off with a bit less of the goo with such juicy fruit).

-Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl, set aside.
-Cream together butter and sugar.
-Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and crystallized ginger.
-Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing just until blended. Spoon batter evenly over plums (I did have to spoon this, then gently spread it out a bit, the batter is fairly thick and I did not want to disturb my plum pattern).
-Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean (you may want to place some aluminum foil under the pan to catch any dribbles), about 1 hour 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool in pan 30 minutes.
-Using a knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Place platter atop cake pan. Invert cake; place platter on work surface. Let stand 5 minutes. Gently lift off pan.
-Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream, or with some ice cream or just plain.

Wonderful dessert for a light summer meal. I did have one small problem with this, but it was due to the fact that my plums were overripe. Because they were so soft and juicy, they kind of dissolved into the topping. I also strongly recommend a 9" spring form pan or something similar, my cake pan was not tall and the cake rose and spread out giving me a mushroom top! Appearance not as nice as I would like (still quite pretty), but the flavor was still outstanding.

Happy Baking!

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Patricia Scarpin said...

This is luscious - I love plums and what a beautiful way to bake with them!

Hillary said...

Mmmm...looks absolutely delicious! Great idea to switch it up from the pineapples. I've never made upside down cake before, how do you get the cake out so well? Doesn't the brown sugar/honey top (or bottom) coating stick to the pan?

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Patricia: Thank you so much! I was very happy with how it turned out :D

Hillary: Thank you, it was very good. I used a good spray of pan spray and just ran my knife around the edge of the pan. I had my fingers crossed when I went to turn it out! It took a little tap, but it came out quite well, and the pan actually was very easy to clean. I think the amount of butter in the topping (or bottom) helps it to release. :)

Deborah said...

This is gorgeous!

Karen said...

beautiful. somehow too pretty to eat.

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Deborah, Thank you for the compliment!

Karen: Thank you, but it's also too tasty to not eat :D.