Friday, August 28, 2009
Plum Ginger Upside-Down Cake
I absolutely love the combination of ginger and plums. And although we often think of ginger cakes and gingerbreads as pastry reserved for the fall and holidays, this cake is very easily enjoyed now when we have so many wonderful plums at our fingertips.
This particular cake recipe comes from Leslie Mackie and Macrina, her bakery in Seattle. In contrast to the darker, heavier and spicier ginger cakes of the fall season, this one is simple, light, supremely moist and extremely delicious. It’s perfect for these transitional days as we move from the long summer laziness of August to the brisk winds of activity in September.
- I cut the cake portion of the recipe in half because I wanted a greater ratio of fruit to cake. Double it if you want more cake and use 3 whole eggs. The original recipe calls for pears but recommends the substitution of ripe plums, nectarines or apples. I also threw in a few fresh raspberries.
- Putting a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan will help keep all the fruit in tact when you turn out the cake.
- The cake bakes slowly at a low temperature to create a wonderful brown sugar caramelization with the fruit. Since ovens vary so broadly, check the cake at 1 hour.
Plum Ginger Upside-Down Cake
adapted from Leslie Mackie’s Macrina Bakery & Café Cookbook
For the topping
3 T unsalted butter @ room temperature
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
4-5 medium to large ripe plums
For the cake
4 oz unsalted butter @ room temperature
1/4 C + 2 T light brown sugar
1 T peeled, grated ginger
1 egg + 1 yolk
1/3 C molasses
1 1/2 C flour
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 C buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Oil a 9" springform pan and line the bottom with a 10" circle of parchment paper. You want a bit of the paper to come up the side of the pan.
Cut the plums into 1/2" slices. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon over medium heat for about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan, completely coating the parchment paper. Place the sliced plums on top of the butter-sugar mixture in overlapping circles so that none of the bottom of the pan shows through.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes until it is smooth and pale. Add the grated ginger and beat 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed and making sure that each egg is fully incorporated. Slowly pour in the molasses and mix thoroughly. The mixture will look like it’s breaking but it will come together when the dry ingredients are added.
Alternately add a third of the flour mixture and half the buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Finish the mixing by folding with a rubber spatula until the dry ingredients are just absorbed. Do not overmix. Pour the batter into the plum-lined pan and level the surface.
Bake for about 1 hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Cover the cake with a serving platter and carefully invert. Lift the bottom of the pan off the cake and gently peel away the parchment paper.