Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plum Upside Down Cake

     One of the greatest advantages to hunting for recipes online are the reviews posted by countless cooks who have already tried the recipes.  You can tweak an ingredient on the recommendation of the previous cooks, learn from other people's mistakes or save time and expense by avoiding a recipe altogether.  This recipe for Plum Upside Down Cake from a 1995 Bon Appetit had rave reviews and glowing reports.  The plums this week at the grocery store were plump, ripe and ridiculously cheap, I just couldn't resist this fruity cake.  Half the fun of making this showstopping dessert is feeling like a world class pastry chef when you arrange the plum wedges in the bottom of your oven.  The sugary plums caramelize into the moist, buttery cake sending your taste buds right into orbit.  With subtle traces of honey and cinnamon I would definitely enter this dessert in a dutch oven cook off, it is just that good.  Bake it in your parchment lined 10 inch dutch oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Mine baked with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18-20 on top.  After 15 minutes I removed the coals from the center of the cover and finished it off with one ring around the outside of the lid.  If you don't have almond extract, just add a little more vanilla.  Let it sit for a while before removing from your oven, all that butter makes it easy to crumble when it's warm.  Impress your friends and maybe even the judges with this splendid dessert, no one will ever guess how easy it is to make. 

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 oil or spray a 10 inch dutch oven and line with parchment paper.
     Pour 6 tablespoons melted butter over parchment paper in oven.  Sprinkle 1 cup brown sugar evenly over melted butter.  Drizzle honey over brown sugar.
     Arrange plums in overlapping concentric circles atop sugar butter mixture.
     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 at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
     Cool in dutch oven for 30 minutes before inverting onto plate.  Serve warm with whipped cream.

Arrange plum slices over melted butter, sugar and honey

Thick, rich, golden batter

Let cake sit for a half hour before removing from dutch oven

Warm and buttery

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