Plums have a juicy sweet interior with a tangy skin and when bitten into, have a nice balance of flavors. Plums range in color from amber to crimson red – each of them slightly unique in taste, and all are great for baking. The heat of the oven softens plums nicely where they almost become jam-like when cooked in desserts.
Upside Down Cakes are a simple preparation and are enjoyable as dessert, or for a breakfast treat. I was inspired to make a cornmeal cake after tasting one at the farmer’s market in Santa Monica. The light corn flavors were so refreshing with fresh fruit, so I created something similar, but using fresh plums. This Upside Down Plum Cornmeal Cake is light and airy and prepared in a cast iron skillet on the stove top and then baked in the oven.
I love a good slice of this cake as a late breakfast with a cup of good coffee. The leftovers, slice up nicely for lunch boxes, or an after school treat with friends.
1 stick butter, room temperature + 6 tablespoons
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 firm plums, any variety
vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice plums in half and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs and mix again for 2 minutes. Add in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mix on low for 30 seconds.
2. Add in the yogurt and milk, and mix on low for 1 minute. Do not over mix. In an iron skillet, add 6 tablespoons of butter and brown sugar, place over medium heat. When butter and sugar are melted and lightly bubbly, add the halved plums cut-side-down in the skillet.
3. Pour the batter over the top of plums and spread evenly. Place the skillet on a sheet pan and put in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Remove the cake and let cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the perimeter with a table knife and invert onto a large plate or platter. Let the Upside Down Plum Cornmeal Cake cool to room temperature. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!