[I know, this looks like a bit of a hot mess. But it was truly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!]
We all know summer is a wonderful time of year for a countless number of things: the beach, swimming, sundresses, lobster rolls, freshly cut grass, lemonade, baseball games, outdoor concerts … the list goes on and on.
One of my favorite things about summer though, is the absurd abundance of gorgeous and fragrant fresh produce. From strawberries and fennel, to plums and asparagus, everything is bright, ripe, and delicious.
Using in-season produce is smart, not only because everything tastes more delicious when eaten at its peak, but it’s actually less expensive to buy produce in season (because there’s a greater supply) and is a great way to support local farmers in your area who produced these goods. In a more superficial sense, it’s also really pretty and festive!
I picked up a carton of plums from Trader Joe’s last weekend and wanted to do something really special with them. I love upside down cakes, so I decided that the destiny most suitable for my plums, was a cake tatine. The recipe I used calls for purple plums, but I used blood plums, as is apparent from the deep rosy hue of my cake. Mine did not come out nearly as beautiful as Ina’s, but my god was this thing delicious! I added in a few dashes of cinnamon and cardamom too, just to experiment with some spice. It made it taste like Christmas! Not quite appropriate for August, but tasty nonetheless.
Plum Cake Tatin
Recipe by Ina Garten
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
- 10 to 12 purple “prune” plums, cut in half and pitted
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.
Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir.
Pour evenly over the plums.
Meanwhile, cream the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and, with the mixer on low speed, add it to the butter mixture. Mix only until combined, then pour the cake batter evenly over the plums.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If a plum sticks, ease it out and replace it in the design on top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.