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July 23, 2014

Plum Crazy

Upside Down Plum Corn Cake
Just last week I was the recipient of one of those proverbial bags of summer fruit, dully passed from one person to the next. Whether it's typical of July, or it's just a coincidence, it seems that around this time of year, I usually receive a bag, the only thing differing is the contents.

Luckily for me, this year's 'pass on' was a bag of beautifully hued small purple plums wonderfully perfumed and just a slight shade of spoiling. In other words, they were perfect for cooking.

Mr. B was curious about the plums from the moment I first revealed the contents of the bag. Admittedly, plums show up in our house quite randomly and without any other purpose than quickly devouring them, but truth be told, after 2 or 3, both Mr. B or I lose interest.

I toyed with several ideas from a plum chutney to a moutarde--I even thought of a making a plum clafouti, but in the end, nothing seemed to grab me. It was by chance that I thought of making a plum upside down cake, and although I'd never had one, it seemed that it would be reasonably delicious.

When I shared the news with Mr. B, he was ecstatic. It's been a while since I've whipped up anything sweet and the thought of downing a thick slice along with a glass of cold milk was a pleasing thought for him.

I went to work peeling the plums and while I'd originally wanted to have gorgeous halves turned upside down, the plums had other ideas. Even though they were ripe and ready to be used, their flesh hung tightly to their stone; peeling them turned out to be far more work than I'd bargained for!

Once I'd finished, I had a nice thick layer to put upon the bottom of my pan, but then, when I went to make the batter, I realized two things: I had very little sugar and almost no flour. It looked as if my plum upside down cake would be a wash, but  since I didn't have the heart to tell Mr. B, who had been waiting patiently all day for his cake, I pressed on. I rummaged about the cupboards, but all I could unearth was a single box of Jiffy cornbread mix.

Always game for an experimentation, I decided to give it a shot and came up with this crazy recipe that isn't only delicious, but quick to prepare. Mr. B and I agreed that this was a winner and the best part--with a quick substitution of other fruit, this is a go to cake that can take you from one season to the next.

Crazy, huh?

Upside Down Plum Cake
3-4 lbs of ripe plums, peeled, pitted and sliced (or, if the plums cooperate, halved)
1 1/2 sticks of butter melted
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of bread flour
1 box of Jiffy cornmeal mix
2-3 tablespoons of sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 pinch of salt
2 teaspoons of baking powder

1. Place plums in the bottom of a lightly greased 10 inch cake pan
2. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and microwave until just bubbling and the sugar is melted; pour over the plums
3. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder; stir in the egg and the milk, adding more milk if needed to get the appropriate consistency of the batter.
4. Pour the batter over the plums and smooth to evenly distribute
5. Bake in a 350 degrees oven until golden brown and set
6. Cool for 5 minutes and then place a plate over the pan and invert the cake
7. Serve warm

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