Cake Two: Upside-Down Plum Cake

Cake two was delicious. The perfect cake for after dinner on an autumn evening – warm, and saucy, with tart purple plums and a crust that had just started to caramelise. So good.

Dessert is ready, and delicious,

The recipe comes from a book called “Riverstone Kitchen – recipes from a chef’s garden”, by Bevan Smith. Bevan and his wife Monique own a Riverstone Kitchen, a restaurant just north of Oamaru, which is on the East Coast of the South Island.

Learn about Riverstone Kitchen here: www.riverstonekitchen.co.nz

The restaurant is famous for its wonderful food made with local ingredients including fresh produce grown in the most spectacular vegetable garden I’ve ever seen. A trip to Riverstone Kitchen requires you to set aside enough time to eat, explore the garden, admire the majestic henhouse (and peacocks) and to play on an incredible wooden fort, as well as check out the actual castle that Bevan’s mother has built on the other side of a lake. Oh, and there are also some wild gift shops that are chock full of all sorts of treasures – if you’re a minimalist, these might make you anxious.

The whole Riverstone Kitchen ethos is about local, seasonal, produce, cooked perfectly. Nothing is too fussy (unlike the gift shops, the food is perfect but not extra). I like to turn to Bevan’s book when I’m trying to be inspired by what’s locally grown and in season, like plums are in early autumn.

The cake itself was pretty easy to make – halving the plums was probably the fiddliest part. I had some help with this one – my lockdown companion is my child, and I was pleased to have an assistant – it makes things more fun. We made the whole thing, from getting out the ingredients to putting the cake into the oven, in the time it takes to listen to Eric B and Rakim’s iconic album “Paid in Full” from start to finish – that’s 44 minutes. We were taking it pretty easy as well – I’m sure it could be done faster.

Plums on top of batter, pre-oven.

The recipe is massive – it makes a 28cm cake that’s enough for 12, so I reduced the ingredients by one third. You also have to make a plum sauce to put over the cake when its served – I wasn’t going to do this but when the cake came out it looked so delicious that I knew it deserved me putting in the full effort. The sauce really added an extra dimension of deliciousness and I recommend it. Also there’s heaps left over which I think might be good on pancakes, or just over cereal. I didn’t have any vanilla ice cream (and there’s no running down to the shop these days) so served the cake with marscapone on the side – this might be even better than ice cream since it isn’t sweet.

I highly recommend that you make this cake.

  • Deliciousness : So, so good. Five stars. Can’t wait to try it cold tomorrow (probably for breakfast)
  • Recipe complexity: Really clear instructions and no tricky techniques.
  • Availability/price of ingredients: You can’t make this unless plums are in season, but everything else is pretty basic. Sugars, eggs, flour, butter, vanilla.
  • Similarity of final cake to picture/description: It came out looking much fancier than I expected, so I call this a win.
  • Would I bake it again? Yes. 100 per cent.
Can’t get enough of this cake.

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