I decided that I wouldn’t make a chocolate dessert this year for Valentine’s Day. Instead I was drawn to the idea of something with fruit. The Barefoot Contessa made this plum cake a few weeks ago and I printed the recipe. Plums have not been in the market for a while, but while shopping two days ago a new crop had just come in. Aha! Just the thing. Red- hued plums in a rich cake with a caramelized sugar top. It is similar to a pineapple upside down cake.
Ina Garten’s recipes are usually fool proof. This one is too. The fool is me. I don’t have a candy thermometer here in Florida so I winged it. You are supposed to boil sugar and water until it is a warm amber color and 360 degrees on the candy thermometer. This is poured over the halved plums in the pie plate before the cake batter is added. I kind of knew when I poured it over the plums that it had not reduced enough. There was just too much liquid. But it was too late. I poured the batter over it and hoped for the best. The resulting cake was very liquid when I flipped it onto the serving plate and there was not much caramelization on the plums, but in spite of that it was good. Just imagine how good this would have been if I had had the proper equipment.
Follow this recipe to the letter and I am sure you will have great results.
PLUM CAKE “TATIN’
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
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. 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 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.
Pour the cake batter evely over the plums and 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 desigh on the top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
For more treats for Valentine’s Day check out Lisa’s Sweet as Sugar blog which is linking lots of blogs for Sweets For Saturday.
Food and cooking aside, I have to tell you that our family is receiving the best Valentine present that anyone could receive. Our Son Michael, DIL Kristen and Granddaughter Rachel are welcoming into our family a beautiful little boy. He will be delivered on Valentine’s Day. Our hearts are full.
Lots of love to all of you. I will be busy for the next week, but promise to share pictures.