I chose the torte because I had a basket of beautiful small red plums from the farmer's market that I wanted to use. (They were the size of cherry tomatoes; when I saw them my first thought was that they were the perfect size for Little Jack Horner to stick in his thumb and pull out a plum from his Christmas pie!) Also, I needed a recipe that I could make in advance, and the recipe notes that baking the cake a day ahead provides the benefit of allowing the fruit juices to moisten the cake evenly.
The first step in making this cake is to make a caramel sauce by heating sugar and water to 370 degrees (I actually took it off the stove when it was only 350 degrees, but it was already a deep amber color and I was worried that it was starting to burn). You pour the caramel into a 10-inch cake pan coated with nonstick spray and then arrange pitted sliced plums (since my plums were so small, I merely cut them in half) and blueberries on top. Then you spread on a cake batter that is made from flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Because you make the batter in the food processor, it literally takes just few seconds for it to come together.
You bake the cake, let it cool for five minutes, and invert it onto a serving plate. I wanted to be able to move the cake around if I needed to, so I inverted it onto a cake circle and a platter.
My cake came out of the pan cleanly with all of the fruit still in place. I was surprised that there were no drips of caramel or fruit juice and my serving platter remained spotless. Beranbaum says she loves using greengage plums for this cake, which would create a very different-looking cake than mine; my small red plums looked like sundried tomatoes.
This cake is simple but delicious. What a wonderful way to enjoy the fruits of summer!
Recipe: "Plum and Blueberry Upside-Down Torte" from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
- "How Can Upside Down Be So Right?: Plum Upside-Down Cake," October 3, 2012.
- "Putting the 'Cake' Back into 'Coffeecake': Plum Streusel Coffeecake," September 30, 2011.