Alice Waters Plum Upside Down Cake

This beautiful and delicious plum upside down cake showcases a variety of plums in a gorgeous and simple-to-make dessert.

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Alice Waters is one of my role models and I’ve had my eye on her Masterclass for a while because I love her approach to keeping recipes simple to really showcase the flavors of seasonal produce. I haven’t made the time to take her Alice Waters Teaches Home Cooking Masterclass yet (hopefully soon!), and in the meantime I’m simply working my way through her cookbooks. This plum upside down cake recipe is from the Chez Panisse cafe cookbook and was a huge hit in my family! The original recipe recommends using Santa Rosa and Elephant Heart plums, but I just gathered a random variety of the plums available at my local farmers market and they worked out beautifully.

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Ingredients for Alice Waters’ Plum Upside Down Cake

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For this recipe you’ll need a baking pan. The original recipe calls for a 9 inch round cake but I used a rectangular baking dish instead.

For Topping you’ll need unsalted butter, brown sugar and 6 ripe plums. The original recipe calls for 3 Santa Rosa and 3 Elephant Heart plums but I just used 5-6 different plums from my local farmers market and rotated them in the topping for a fun, colorful effect.

For the Batter you’ll need basic baking ingredients including more unsalted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs (separated),flour, baking powder, salt, whole milk, and cream of tartar.

For Serving you might considering freshly whipped cream, lightly sweetened with a little powdered sugar.

upside down plum cake

How To Make Alice Waters’ Plum Upside Down Cake

First, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small pan, I used my butter warming pan for this but any small pan will do. Add the brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. If your brown sugar is not dissolving as expected add a teaspoon or two of water to help with the process.

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Next, pour the brown sugar mixture into your baking dish so that it covers the bottom completely. Arrange 1/4 inch plum wedges over the brown sugar mixture in a way that covers the bottom of the pan completely. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 350F.

Using an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and egg yolks one a time.

Add dry ingredients to a separate bowl and mix together.

Now, add half the dry ingredients, then the milk, and then the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing the batter with each new addition.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites with the cream of tartar until slightly stiff. You can use an electric mixer again for this, just make sure to clean the mixing bowl if you used it for the batter. Alternatively, you can whisk by hand if you want an arm workout. Next, gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter, one third at a time.

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Finally, pour the batter onto the prepared pan and spread evenly over the plum topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the cake is browning, the middle is cooked through, and the cake is pulling way slightly from the pan edges.

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Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto serving platter or cake plate. Lightly sweetened whipped cream makes a great topping for this plum upside down cake. This cake is best served the day that it is baked.

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If you make plum upside down cake please share on instagram using hashtag #rainbowdelicious & and tag me at @rainbowdelicious , I’d love to see what you are up to in your kitchen!

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upside down cake recipes
5 from 5 votes
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Upside Down Plum Cake

This beautiful and delicious plum upside down cake showcases a variety of plums in a gorgeous and simple-to-make dessert.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, dessert, plums
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 9
Calories 386 kcal

Ingredients

Plum Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 5-6 ripe plums cut into 1/4 inch wedges

Batter

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar

Fresh Whipped Cream Topping (Optional)

  • 1 pint whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Plum Topping

  1. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small pan. Add brown sugar and stir until it dissolves. If mixture if having trouble dissolving, try adding a teaspoon or two of water to help it along. Pour brown sugar mixture into your baking dish so it covers the bottom completely. Arrange plum wedges over the brown mixture sot hat the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Set aside.

Cake Batter

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and egg yolks one at a time.

  2. Sift together dry ingredients which include flour, baking powder, and salt, in a separate bowl. Beat in half of the flour mixture to mixing bowl, then the milk, and finally the other half of the flour mixture.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs whites and cream of tartar until slightly stiff. Gently fold into the cake batter one third at a time.

  4. Pour the batter onto the prepared pan and spread evenly over the plum topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the cake is browning, the middle is cooked through, and the cake is pulling way slightly from the pan edges. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto serving platter or cake plate. Add a dollop of whipped cream to each slice of cake (optional).

Whipped Cream (Optional)

  1. Whisk on high speed whipping cream, powdered sugar and a pinch of salt until medium to stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Calorie estimates are based on the plum upside down cake without the optional whipped cream topping.

Any nutritional information on RainbowDelicious.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. The nutritional labels are a product of online calculators such as (but not limited to) Verywellfit.com   Although RainbowDelicious.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered only as estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe.

 

Nutrition Facts
Upside Down Plum Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 386 Calories from Fat 154
% Daily Value*
Fat 17.1g26%
Saturated Fat 10.3g64%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 199mg9%
Potassium 276mg8%
Carbohydrates 56.7g19%
Fiber 1.2g5%
Sugar 39.5g44%
Protein 4.3g9%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    You really just can’t beat Alice Waters. That’s such a fun idea to take her Masterclass – you should definitely do it! This is so gorgeous and I was excited to scroll to the recipe card and see that it’s actually quite simple, too. Thank you so much for sharing this gem!

    • Thanks so much Shelley! I think I will take the Masterclass soon, it will be a bright spot during 2020! The recipe has a few steps, but each are simple enough and it is quite fail proof! Thanks, Shelley!

  2. 5 stars
    This looks amazing and delicious! I can’t wait to give this a try! My family is going to love this!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely drooling right now! I need to make a gluten free/dairy free dessert for this weekend and this may have totally just inspired me to try an upside down cake for the weekend. 😋

  4. Kylie Archer says

    5 stars
    Yummo! I used some plums I preserved at the start of autumn in this and it was positively delicious!

  5. 5 stars
    I made it! The cake turned out perfect. I especially loved the flavor of mixed types of plums! Thanks!

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