Plum and almond upside-down cake

It was 18 degrees yesterday, and it’s mid-October (and we live in the NORTH now!), but nonetheless I was feeling autumnal. We also had a fridge full of slightly sad greengages and plums. I toyed with the idea of a crumble, but decided that a cake was called for. I reckon you could sub in any soft fruit, apples, pears, berries, and it would work. If using berries, I’d be inclined to use lemon zest and a little less lemon juice, in place of orange.

Approx. 8 plums and/or greengages (enough to cover the base of your dish)
Cinnamon and nutmeg, approx 1tsp each
200g brown sugar, plus 2 tsp
200g butter, plus extra for greasing
150g plain flour
100g ground almonds
Juice and zest of one orange
35ml amaretto
50ml milk
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4. Grease the sides of a 23x16cm (or thereabouts) china or pyrex dish. Line the base with greaseproof paper.

Halve and de-stone the plums. Slice each half into four-six slices, and lay across the bottom of your dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg, two tsp of brown sugar, and the juice of half the orange.

Cream butter and sugar together until soft, and beat the eggs with the amaretto and the milk. Add half the egg mix and half the flour to the butter, and mix well. Repeat with the remaining eggs, flour and baking powder.

Fold in the ground almonds, the orange zest and the remaining juice. The mixture should drop easily off the spoon – if it’s too stiff add a little more milk, juice or amaretto (your choice!).

Spoon cake mix carefully on top of the plums, and level off the top with the back of a spoon. Bake on the middle shelf for 1hr15min, checking after 45mins and covering with foil if it’s browning. The cake should be springy to touch and lightly golden (mine went pink because of the plums!). Stick a knife/skewer into the middle of the cake – a few sticky is crumbs is good, but no raw cake mix.

Leave to cool in the dish for 10mins or so, then run a sharp knife around the edges and turn out onto a plate. Remove the greaseproof, and stick any plum slices that have come away back onto the cake. Serve warm, with more custard than is entirely sensible, or eat cold.

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