Friday, January 13, 2012

Stone fruit overload/ Upside down plum cake

I do love a great deal. When a daily deal site offered half price off a 7kg box of mixed stone fruit, delivered, I was in. It is quite a lot of fruit actually, perhaps a little more than I appreciated.  It is quite tricky to get through it all as there is only so much stone fruit each family member can eat before being felled by a sore stomach!

I don't want to waste any fruit, but am forced to concede that the summer heat is trying to claim the fruit. I didn't want to preserve any of this batch either, as the fruit, while cheap, was not cheap enough for me to pass up the opportunity of eating the fruit fresh.  I remembered the recipe below from a recipe I copied out long ago.  I made it quite a few times about three summers ago and can't think why I haven't made it more recently.  This is delicious and simple, as long as you have a heavy oven proof frying pan.  I have an incredibly heavy cast iron pan that I hate cleaning that is perfect for this recipe.

Turned out on to a plate.

In the skillet.

Upside-Down Plum Cake

Use a cast iron skillet (23-25cm) * You could substitute with something similar but it must be something that can be used on the stove element and in the oven.

185g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
9-17 plums (these will be cut in half and placed on the base of the pan - you need enough to fit)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (room temperature)
250ml buttermilk (room temperature) (in a pinch you can use milk, buttermilk just tastes heaps better)

Heat the oven to 175C. Melt 60 grams of the butter in a 25cm skillet on a lowish heat. Sprinkle the brown sugar over evenly and leave for three minutes.  Arrange plums cut side down in the skillet.  Remove from heat.  In a bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl cream the remaining butter and sugar.  Add vanilla (i used vanilla syrup with seeds, could use extract) then eggs, one at a time.  Add buttermilk then fold in the dry ingredients gently.  Carefully spoon the mixture over the plums.  Bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  To remove, run a knife around the edge and turn out on to a plate, fruit side up.  Serve with yoghurt or cream.

  •  Refrigerated products are best at room temperature for baking - the ingredients come together better and can 'curdle' if one ingredient is too cold.
  • Do not add too much vanilla - I tend to go heavy with vanilla as I feel it benefits most recipes.  It does not benefit this recipe.
  • I cooked for 45 minutes then turned off the oven and retrieved about an hour later.  The cake was cooked through and still warm enough to easily remove from the pan.
  • If your pan isn't very deep or the mixture comes nearly to the top before cooking then place a tray underneath to catch the overflow! 
  • This dish is really best served warm and on the day made.  


  1. Great way to use stone fruit, and a cast iron skillet! (Yes they are a pain to clean...). What do you mean by too much vanilla? Fo something like this I would have used no more than half tsp of vanilla paste (which I don't find particularly strong anyway, although it is nice to see all the seeds...), but I guess I tend to go lightly with vanilla anyway.


  2. Thanks for your comment! I realy like vanilla so have it in many forms: bean, paste, extract and homemade extract. I feel that a lot of recipes can use more vanilla - like in meringues. I tend to use a heavy hand with vanilla in all my recipes and did in this one. I used vanilla paste in this recipe and probably was too generous. Two teaspoons of extract is nice, two large teaspoons of paste was too much.