Plum Amaretto Upside-Down Cake

It's been long since I've cooked. Two weeks precisely. And it's been longer since I've baked. The last time I went near the oven was to bake this cake for my grandmother's 82nd birthday.
And then happened Kashmir. And my mind flew straight from my kitchen to the valleys and lakes, rivers and glaciers that made up the magnificent landscape of what they call the paradise on earth (read more about my trip to Kashmir here).
Among the many other things we did there, we shopped. A lot. I loaded my suitcase with dry fruits and nuts...walnuts, almonds, dried apricots, dried figs, black currants, raisins and what have you. If dried items made up for half the weight of my luggage the other half comprised of fresh fruits — apricots, cherries and plums. Now the cherries have quite a story of their own (which will be duly narrated in my sequel to Jannat-e-Kashmir). But the plums, yes, the plums found their destiny today in my oven.
I had been itching to make a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, the recipe of which I had picked up from Nigella Lawson, but somehow ended up eating all the pineapples that made their way to my fridge. The sight of the bright red luscious beauties suddenly made me want to substitute the pineapples with plums and go about making the cake just as Nigella did. This was my first attempt at an upside-down cake and what came out of the oven blew my mind. Deep brown interjected by blobs of bright red, this cake is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cakes I've ever made. The tartness of the plums offsets the softness of the sponge when you bite into it. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream in a dinner party, and I bet you'll have your guests drooling. :)
Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Serves: 8-10


Butter, softened at room temperature : 100 gm + for greasing
Caster sugar: 125 gm + 2 tablespoons for dusting
Plums, sliced into roundels: 15-16 small or 10-12 medium (make sure the plums are
naturally sweet)
Amaretto (almond liqueur): 2 tbsp (optional)
Flour: 100 grams
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon
Bicarbonate of soda: 1/2 teaspoon
Eggs: 2


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter a 8-9 inch round cake tin. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of the buttered base, and then arrange the plum slices to make a circular pattern.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and set aside.

3. Now put the butter, caster sugar, eggs and flour mixture into a food processor one by one in that order and blend after each entry till the batter is smooth. Add 2 tbsp amaretto and give a final blend.

4. Pour this mixture over the plum slices and spread it out gently to form an even layer.

5. Bake for 30 minutes, and then cool it on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes. Run a spatula around the edge of the tin, place a plate on top and turn it upside-down.

6. Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream for that "wow" factor. :)


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