Plum Upside-Down Cake
Cornmeal gives this cake a pleasantly grainy texture.
Martha Stewart Living, June/July 1993
- 10 red or purple plums
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 9 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- All-purpose flour, for pan
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons yellow cornmeal, preferably coarse-ground
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup almond paste
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- Prepare fruit layer: Cut plums into quarters; remove pits. Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until it sizzles. Add plums; cook 2 to 3 minutes, until well coated and shiny.
- Add sugar and cinnamon, and stir to coat plums. Cook, stirring frequently, until plums soften, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove fruit with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a baking sheet to cool slightly. Remove pan from heat, saving syrup.
- Butter and flour a 9 1/2-by-2-inch round cake pan. Arrange fruit, with cut edges down, in concentric circles starting with outside edge of pan. Fit leftover fruit into any spaces that remain.
- Return syrup to medium heat, and boil until very thick with large bubbles. Immediately pour over fruit. Let cool.
- Prepare cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cornmeal with a fork.
- Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Crumble in almond paste, and beat with the paddle attachment. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, and beat until creamy.
- Add egg yolks, and beat until well combined. Beat in extracts. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In a clean bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Gradually sprinkle in 2 tablespoons sugar, and beat until soft peaks form. Add a third of the whites to batter, and mix with a whisk. Gently fold in remaining whites.
- Spread batter over fruit, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in pan.
- Just before serving, place pan over low heat for 1 minute to ease unmolding. Run a knife around edges to loosen, and invert onto a serving plate.
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