There has been much conversation centered around the outgoing summer season, I think most of us hate to say good bye. It seems just like every year, the closer we get to the official beginning of fall which arrives in just a few days, the greater our acclimation to these September days and beyond. Adding to the colors of fall, we have football, apple cider, the start of making Thanksgiving plans, and for those of us who are even more fortunate - fresh plums.
Speaking of the colors of fall, do these count? Uh, yeah! Blue is my favorite color and the shades found in this bucket of plums that my friend Diane brought into work are nothing short of mesmerizing to me.
Besides their color, there was something else very special to me about these plums. Seeing them brought back vivid memories of the lone plum tree on my boyhood farm. Our plum tree was not in a prominent location, unlike the regal sugar maples or the brilliant lilac bushes that dotted the landscape of Imperial Acres where I grew up. Instead, it was a bit off the beaten path on our farm, but directly beyond one of the exits to the back fields, nestled tightly in a nook adjacent to a small patch of wild raspberries. Our farm had scores of nooks, and scores of crannies, and throughout my 16 year tenure on the farm surely I learned nearly everyone one of them throughout it's 200 acres. To this day when I close my eyes, I can still picture the place exactly as it looked then, perfect isolated country replete with woods, fields, and streams. That this was a piece of heaven is irrefutable.
I don't recall my mom ever making any dishes from the fruit of our plum tree but that did did not stop me from looking for ideas to put this gift from my friend to good use.
Other than relishing the color of these plums and the wonderful memories they helped evoke, I wanted to learn a bit about them. What did I learn? Nothing new in particular, although in the process of reviewing their qualities and properties, I was reminded of the nutritional benefits derived from plums. Not only are they beautiful on the eyes, they are great for your overall health as well.
I'm not here to say that this cake and accompanying fresh whipped cream are the healthiest thing in the world for you, but once again in moderation, a little of each now and then may be just what the doctor ordered. For me, this recipe was more than just a piece of cake, it was a taste of life served on a dessert plate. I hope you will consider giving it a try and please, let me know your thoughts.
Plum Upside-Down Cake & Fresh Whipped Cream
- for the cake
- 12 tablespoons 1 ½ 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 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup milk
- for the whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
for the cake
- 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 cake warm with whipped cream.
for the whipped cream
- Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream.
- Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
- Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours.
- When ready to use, rewhisk for 10 to 15 seconds.