Cakes Desserts Summer

plum blueberry upside-down cake with cardamom

I like having dinner guests.  It’s lovely, catching up, sipping cold beer, laughing and watching the little ones race around. Sometimes friends come spur of the moment, to chat the afternoon and evening away. Even though it’s last minute, I still have to have dessert. I can’t help it. It somehow doesn’t feel right to skip that after dinner sweetness.
Luckily I had bought plums earlier that day. And there were blueberries left over from the CSA. I always have buttermilk on hand, and cardamom is stocked in my pantry, too. So let’s make a cake: a pretty, tasty, upside-down cake. It’s brilliant purple top will be the highlight of the table, and it will taste as good as it looks. Another every day cake to make life more enjoyable.

Plum Blueberry Upside Down Cake with Cardamom
adapted from Everyday Food

Light brown sugar works just fine in the recipe, too. 

10 tablespoons [1 1/4 stick] unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 large firm but ripe black plum, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 1/2 cups blueberries [7 ounces]
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour [7 1/2 ounces]
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly butter an 8 inch round cake pan [2 inches deep]; line bottom with parchment paper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and pour into pan; swirl to coat paper. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar evenly over butter. Arrange plum evenly in pan, then add blueberries, filling in any gaps.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl of a standing mixer, beat 8 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and egg white until combined. With mixer on low, beat flour mixture into butter mixture until combined. Beat in buttermilk and vanilla until smooth.
Transfer the batter to the cake pan. Tap firmly on counter several times to remove air bubbles; smooth top.
Bake until cake is deep golden brown, juices are bubbling around edge, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack, 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or a room temperature [store, covered, at room temperature, up to 2 days].
  • Reply
    Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 8:52 pm

    I just made this yesterday. Folks really enjoyed it – and they have high standards. Looked beautiful, too.

    Some adjustments I made… One person couldn’t have poppy seeds so I left that out. To the fruit layer, I added slightly more than 1/8 cup diced candied ginger that had been tossed with with a heaping 1/2 tsp lemon zest. I distributed that across the top of the fruit layer just before adding the cake batter on top. Served with freshly whipped vanilla sweet cream (1 cup cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract).

    All these flavors worked so well together. When plums go out of season, I’m looking forward to using pear with the same other variations. I believe the pear in the topping and the cardamom in the cake want to be together!

    • Reply
      Sunday, September 3, 2023 at 9:05 pm

      Just made it again tonight for my wife’s birthday and it’s a big hit! I double the amount of poppyseeds and vanilla and increased cardamom to 2 1/4 teaspoons. I think the lemon was too subtle in my variation. Next time I will use a teaspoon of lemon zest in the melted butter before distributing that across the bottom of the pan, in the step before sprinkling brown sugar.
      Even so, the family loved it. Thanks for this recipe!

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    This sounds utterly amazing! I’m going to invite company and make it this week for certain.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Just made this yesterday for a celebration! Everyone loved it, and the cardamom was just fantastic. My second favorite spice; right behind vanilla bean 😉 Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    It’s a shame there wasn’t a bigger reaction to this recipe, despite how many years ago it was posted – it’s absolutely lovely, and the poppy seeds are a wonderful addition.

    • Reply
      Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Thank you Claire! You reminded me I need to make it again. 🙂

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