As promised, here’s the plum cake recipe! I make two versions of this cake; one is upside down and one is in an iron skillet. It’s a variation on a cake from Cooking Light that I first made over a decade ago and still love to bake. The cake is moist and with the right amount of sugar, the plums are tangy and the juices bleed into the cake with a crimson-colored syrup. Since you can’t give it away after you take a bite, I had to make three small cakes: one for the couple who gave me the plums; one for my family, and one for, none other than Don Shalvey. Don was coming over for a meeting and I had nothing in the house but plums. I used two five-inch pans and a small, five-inch iron cast skillet. Line each pan with parchment paper You know how to make a circle our of parchment paper to line the pan, right? Fold parchment into a cone shape, put the point in the center of your pan and trim the parchment to fit.
Slice six or seven plums and cook them in 2 tablespoons of butter and ¼ cup of sugar (add more if they are too tart). Don’t be cheap on the plums; you want to generously cover the bottom of your three pans. When the plums have released their juices and you have a nice syrup, turn off the heat. Spoon the plums into each of the lined pans, or if you are feeling festive or French, place them in a decorative design. To make the batter, cream a stick of unsalted butter and ¾ cup sugar (or less depending on your sweet tooth). Add two eggs, one at a time. It’s best if all these ingredients are at room temperature. Separately, sift together 1½ cup flour and 1½ teaspoons baking powder. Alternate putting this dry mixture and ¾ cup of buttermilk into the creamed-butter mixture. Spoon the batter into the three pans. The skillet pan should have the least and it’s ok if the juices or plums are peeking through on the edges. If you are making an upside down cake, then you want to smooth it out and make sure the plums/juice are covered. If not, let those gorgeous juices show. Bake at 350 degrees until brown on top. Don liked it and we ate it straight out of the iron cast skillet, how about that? The only problem was that I forgot about my mother-in-law who came over later that day and took the cake for the family so I had to start all over again that night. No problem, I have 10 pounds of plums!