I originally had decided to make this cake a few weeks ago with the sugar plums I got at Shady Maple, but they got way too mushy and jammy to make a proper cake. At the farmer's market this week, Beechwood Orchards (who I've mentioned a million times because they're my favorite fruit vendor) had like a zillion varieties of plums, so I thought I'd buy a variety to try out this cake.
I got five different types of plums and was so excited. I made this cake effing beautiful. It's hard to see in the photo but I actually made something that looks presentable and lovely. And I did it well. No sticking the pan, everything went perfectly. I flipped it without a mess. It was quite a feat.
Here's the problem: It did not taste good. The plums are delicious. The caramely topping from the butter and brown sugar is wonderful. The cake itself? Not good at all. It has kind of a dry texture and I absolutely hate the combination of the lemon and the allspice. Oh my gosh. I hate it so much. I ate one little square of it yesterday and the rest of it is just sitting there, staring at me.
There's only one thing to do in a case like this: scrape all the fruit off the top and put it on some ice cream. Hooray!
Not at all a make-again.
Plum Upside-Down Cake
Everyday Food, July/August 2003
Let the cake rest no longer than ten minutes before turning it out or the topping may stick. If it does stick, dip the pan bottom in hot water, then try turning it out again.
12 tablespoons unsalted butter -- (1 1/2 sticks) room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 medium plums -- (about 12 ounces), halved, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest -- (about 1 lemon)
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups cake flour -- (not self-rising)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 4 tablespoons butter in an 8-inch square cake pan. Heat in oven until butter melts, about 4 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange the plum slices like rooftop shingles. Start at one end of the pan, then stagger and overlap the slices so the bottom of the pan is covered.
2. In a large bowl, cream remaining 8 tablespoons butter with sugar and lemon zest. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk and starting and ending with the flour.
4. Pour batter into cake pan, and spread evenly over plums. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack to cool again slightly before serving.