Plum Cake Tatin

I noticed that my mom had bought some prune plums last week that were ready to be eaten. I’ve seen Ina Garten make this Plum Cake Tatin on her show Barefoot Contessa many times (you know how Food Network likes it’s reruns), so I thought it would be the perfect thing to bring when we our neighbors invited us over for dinner.

The recipe is kind of like a Tarte Tatin, which is an upside-down tart typically made with caramelized apples. The plums gave it an interesting twist, and the tarte was replaced with a lemony cake batter.

The recipe starts by pitting and slicing the plums in half and then arranging them split-side down in a buttered glass pie dish. I couldn’t find the glass pie dish, so I used a cast iron skillet instead:

Next, I made the caramel out of sugar and water and poured evenly over the plums. My last few attempts at making caramel have been kind of a disaster; I usually manage to get it right after the second try, but it clumps together and hardens on the first try. I always Google the issue when it happens and I found out that this is called crystallizing the caramel. Supposedly, you can prevent this from happening by not stirring the mixture while it’s cooking and making sure the pot is totally clean. I used a new pot for the second batch and, again, tried really hard to resist the urge to stir and…sure enough, it worked. I’m still a little baffled, but I guess practice makes perfect?

Finally, I poured the cake batter over the plums and caramel. The batter was really simple and consisted of eggs, sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt.

After putting the cake in the oven in 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, the cake was lightly golden on top:

The final step is to flip it over so that the plums and caramel are on top. I first let it cool for 10 minutes, then put a plate over the skillet, flipped (carefully!), and then transferred to the serving platter. The cake is really moist, so it may have been easier to just flip directly onto the platter. I dusted the top of the cake with some confectioners’ sugar and served with whipped cream. It was a huge hit!

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