Plum September - A recipe

Plum-Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Cake may not be essential to life but eaten occasionally, with some element of celebration or ceremony, it enriches, sweetens, perhaps even spices up the day. And I know it inspires good conversation.

Here's my new-favourite recipe for a warm, September Sunday when the plums are in season and you've scheduled nothing but an afternoon of sharing tea, memories and dreams with a friend or two.

Plum-Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Plum-Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Plum Syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
12-15 Italian prune plums, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick

11/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Plums drizzled with cinnamon & maple syrupTo make the plum syrup:
Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Whisk in the brown sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.
Pour the syrup into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Arrange the plum slices, slightly overlapping them, in 3 rows, completely covering the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and cardamom onto a piece of parchment paper or into the bowl. Add the salt and set aside.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the milk and vanilla and set aside.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and mixing well after each addition.
Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then continue to beat for 1 minutes.
Spread the batter on top of the plums.
Plum-Cardamom Cake - upside-upBake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake, invert a platter on top of the pan, and then invert the plate and pan together. Lift off the pan and carefully remove the parchment paper.
Slice the cake and serve warm or at room temperature.

Planning Ahead
The cake is best served the day it is made. Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

{My variation: After arranging plums in bottom of pan, sprinkle with a light dusting of cinnamon & drizzle lightly with maple syrup.} 

{Kitchen notes: In this version (trial #2) I prepared for the blog post & photographs, I used more plums than the recipe called for -- I prefer a fruity rather than cake-y dessert. This affected the cake texture but not the flavour (it was still "yum").  And the next time I make the recipe, I'm going to increase the deliciousness with a dollop of Kathryn's vanilla ricotta on top.}

Source: cake recipe adapted from Classic Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti.