Late January in my father’s garden. The plum trees are absolutely bursting with fruit. Luscious. Sweet and juicy. I can’t recall ever having seen so much fruit on those trees. They are hanging from the low lying branches like big, fat, oversized bunches of purple grapes. Perhaps a testament to my brother’s pruning prowess. Last autumn he pruned the tops of the trees back severely to keep my father from climbing ladders to pick the fruit. It seems to have done the trick.
We picked basket upon basket of plums. Some to be eaten. The rest to be transformed into jams, cakes and slices. Even dried into prunes. For afternoon tea I helped my mother bake a cake. Upside down plum cake with an almond, lemon and yoghurt batter. Divine.
Upside Plum Cake with Almonds.
50 g butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
800 g plums, halved, stones removed
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/3 cups self raising flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Greek yoghurt
150 ml olive oil
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
PREHEAT oven to 160 C. Grease a 22 cm round cake tin. Line base with baking paper.
MELT 50 g butter in a small saucepan. Stir in brown sugar until well incorporated and dissolved. Drizzle evenly over the base of the cake tin.
PLACE plums cut side down evenly over base of the tin. Start at outside edge of the tin working towards the centre.
COMBINE the remaining dry ingredients – flour, almond meal, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
IN ANOTHER bowl combine the wet ingredients – eggs, oil, yoghurt and lemon zest.
FOLD wet ingredients into the dry. SPOON mixture over the plums. Smooth surface.
BAKE cake ins 160 C oven, middle rack position for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand cake in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate and peel off baking paper.
SERVE as is, or with cream or ice cream as a dessert.