Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Purty Little Indulgence

Plum Upside Down Cake. Doesn't it just sound like a fabulous culinary invention? I've been craving this succulent sweet since the early days of summer in June and finally brought myself to baking it. My reluctance can be blamed on my lack of self-control... I feared that if I did make it, I would eat the entire thing in one sitting. 10 minutes maybe is all it would've taken.

We had a dessert party, fortunately, to which I was happy to send this cake to. Instead of serving whipped cream, I opted for something with a bit more tang and decided on creme fraiche ( I'm no Frenchman, but me thinks it's pronounced like "fresh") with a hint of almond extract and sugar. I recommend it (you whip the creme fraiche just like you do whipping cream- soft peaks, people.)

My only piece of advice for baking any fruit-laden upside down cake is to let the cake cool once it's been taken out of the oven and when the nerve racking time comes to invert it, do it ever so gently! We had a few plum fatalities that stuck to the pan... Eeeee!

Plum Upside Down Cake

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
6 large plums, halved, pitted, each half cut into 6 wedges

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir 6 tablespoons butter, brown sugar and honey in heavy medium skillet over low heat until butter melts and sugar and honey blend in, forming thick, smooth sauce. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 2-inch-high sides. Arrange plums in overlapping concentric circles atop sauce.

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large bowl until light. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in extracts. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing just until blended. Spoon batter evenly over plums. Bake cake until golden and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool in pan 30 minutes.

Using 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 with creme fraiche or whipped cream.

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