Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Plum Upside-Down cake

Yesterday, my one-year-old threw two meals on the floor and her shoe in the toilet. The highlight of my day was the company of friends and this Plum Upside-Down cake.

I copied the recipe from Alice Waters' lovely book The Art of Simple Food ages ago and finally got around to making it yesterday, at great expense to my sanity. As I beat the egg whites (my pet peeve), I told myself that this cake had better be worth it.

Well, it was. The cake was impossibly moist and tender, and while not exactly "easy", the cake is indeed "simple" as she says, and my favorite use so far for fresh plums. I used Santa Rosa plums from my parents' tree and Elephant Hearts from the Farmer's Market. I also used almond milk in place of whole milk as it was on hand, with great success.

Upside-Down Plum Cake
Adapted from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. brown sugar
3 Santa Rosa plums and 3 Elephant Heart Plums, pitted and cut into eighths, lengthwise
2 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 c. whole milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the brown sugar and 1 stick butter in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter melts and starts to bubble. Let bubble for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Arrange the plums, in a ring around the outer edge. Working inward, make concentric circles with the plums until you fill up the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, beat the remaining 1 sick of butter to lighten. Add granulated sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.

When well mixed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with one-third of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter and then gently fold in the rest. Pour the batter over the plums and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. (Mine cooked for 45 and came out perfectly).  Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate. 


  1. Plum cake is my favorite summer dessert, and this one looks delicious. Sorry you had such a terrible day, but just wait until your daughter reaches the terrible twos.

  2. It's Looks delicious . Thanks for sharing this recipe. It has its unique test. I am going to try this plum cake .It looks very beautiful and delicious.


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