Delicious though they are, plums are one of the most frustrating of fruit; faltering between too hard and over-ripe, with merely a brief window of delicious, succulent, sweet, ripeness.
If you hadn’t guessed, I’m a fan. But often, I buy more than I can eat. In years gone by, I’ve cooked them to make a compote (which is lovely with cinnamon and star anise) to have with cream or yoghurt, but recently I thought ‘I’ve never tried an upside down cake, I wonder if plums would work?’ I’m glad I thought of it, because it works. It really works. Unbelievably delicious warm or cold, with cream, vanilla ice cream or solo…whatever floats your boat!
The best thing about this cake is that it couldn’t be any simpler to make. I used Mary Berry’s all-in-one Victoria sponge recipe, which does what it says on the tin: all ingredients in the bowl, beat with an electric whisk till combined. Perfection! Every time. I used half golden caster and half light muscovado sugar for extra yumminess, and to this I added ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, which I think are a perfect match for plums.
You can caramelize the plums in a pan before baking if you like; it will only add to the flavour. But be careful not to over do it, as you want them to hold their shape. I personally didn’t and instead, sprinkled sugar over the bottom of the greased tin before putting the plums in. Whatever you decide, again this part is very simple: all you need to do is slice the plums in half, arrange them cut side down in your cake tin, pour over your cake mix and bake. I promise, it’s worth the (minimal) effort, especially when it comes out looking so lovely!
So, next time you have some plums going spare, why not try this out for size? You might be converted.