Damson plum upside-down cake

Monica Shaw cooks up a damson plum upside-down cake recipe, using fruits given to her by a generous friend. Enjoy this beautiful autumnal cake as a truly seasonal treat.

I have recently been the grateful recipient of a large quantity of Damson Plums thanks to the generosity of nature and a friend with a Damson tree. Some of these plums will get made into Damson Vodka, others will go towards Damson Jam. But the first thing I did was turn some of these plums - super soft, ripe and sweet - into a cake.

I was inspired by my friend (and pastry chef) Kathy to go for an upside down cake. She did something very similar with her plums last August and aptly pointed out that a recipe like this will help you get through a pound and a half or so of plums in an extremely delicious way (very handy if you have a lot of plums to get through).

Upside down cakes are really easy to make, but usually the reserve for pineapples (and if you’re going that route, I do recommend Marcus Wareing's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake). Plums offer a nice twist on this, with a hint of spice in the cake complimenting the autumnal plums. If you don’t have a cake pan that is large enough to fit all of the batter called for in this recipe, you can make smaller mini upside down cakes in ramekins which are really fun.

I really love this plum upside down cake served with crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt, but vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would go equally well.





Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Place 55g of the butter in a 23cm oven-proof frying pan or cake tin
Place the pan in the oven and leave until the butter has melted. Remove the pan and swirl the butter around so it's distributed evenly. Sprinkle over the brown sugar and lay the plums on top of the sugar in a single, tightly-packed layer, skin-side up. If you’d like, fill in any gaps with blackberries or blueberries
Now make the batter. Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the remaining butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light, then add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the eggs, beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla and almond extract
Add the milk and the remaining dry ingredients to the mixture and mix with a spatula until just blended. Spoon the batter evenly over plums. Bake until golden and a toothpick or knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (this will take about 50-60 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack and cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes
Using a knife, cut around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a plate on top of the cake pan then invert the cake. Let it stand with the pan still on for 5 minutes, then gently lift off the pan. Serve the cake warm with whipped cream, crème fraîche or ice cream

Monica Shaw's mission is to enable people to feel awesome, through food, life, work and play.

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