Even though summer fruit is impossibly fabulous on its own, I can’t resist the urge to bake with it. And at some point this summer, the notion of plum cake worked its way into my brain—and that idea stuck so firmly that when I finally had a chance to actually make a plum cake, I found that my list of to-be-tried recipes included FOUR different varieties: plum cornmeal cake, plum skillet cake, dimply plum cake, and plum upside-down cake. I may eventually make all of them, but for now I’m completely besotted with the upside-down cake.
It’s just so gooey and caramelly and wonderful. Be forewarned, though—the caramel may well drip everywhere (especially if you’re an idiot and use a springform pan, which is guaranteed to drip everywhere), and unless you want to spend hours cleaning your oven, put a cookie sheet under the cake while it’s baking. But even though I now have to spend hours cleaning my oven, this cake was worth it.
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
Lightly sweetened whipped cream
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. [NOT a springform pan.] Arrange plums in overlapping concentric circles atop sauce.
Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. [I also added about 1/4 of a teaspoon of cardamom.] 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 cake warm with whipped cream.