I was baking a cheesecake today and... ahem... things did not go as planned. New York style cheesecake, as classic as they come. For my Russian blog, to share this wonderful American invention with the people of Russia :). You can easily buy cheesecake in coffee shops and restaurants there these days (after all, Starbucks is all over the place now), but few people know how to make it at home. So I decided, why not. Nice and reliable. How-evah! ALL the recipes out there make 10-12 servings. You know, for a nice, tall, regal cheesecake in a 9-inch springform pan. But who has 10-12 people readily available to consume this cake? Well, I did not at the moment. No big parties planned, no potlucks or bake sales; just the desire to bake and photograph a cheesecake.
So I decided to cut the recipe in half. And for some reason, I thought the appropriate pan size would be 6 inches. I now know it is wrong. The correct size for half of the 9-inch recipe is a 7-inch pan. Huuuge difference. So there it sits, my cheesecake, in the oven. With its sides trying desperately to rise above the limitations of the pan walls. Just like we do sometimes, I suppose... I just hope that unlike this cake we don't always FALL from the effort :)). Sorry guys, just couldn't resist taking this analogy a little further :)
What did work great is this upside down plum cake. I'm not a fan of the classic upside down pineapple cake, and even Tarte Tatin leaves me unexcited, but plums work great with the idea! They are tart and nicely counteract the brown sugar sauce they're baked with. I found the recipe in Bon Appetit and over the years have tweaked it to match my taste. And fruit makes such a great baking ingredient (such as in my peach and apricot galette or cherry and dark chocolate galettes). Easy peasy!
Upside Down Plum Cake
1 1/2 sticks (170 gr) butter, softened
3/4 cup (165 gr) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
8 plums, cut into segments
1 1/2 (180 gr) cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150 gr) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (140 ml) milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-in pan with 2-in sides.
In a skillet melt HALF the butter with honey and sugar over medium heat, stirring until smooth sauce forms. Pour sauce into prepared cake pan, arrange plum segments on top.
Mix flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a medium bowl, set aside. With a mixer, whip remaining butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs and both extracts and whip until white and fluffy. Add 1/3 flour mixture, mix until just blended. Add 1/2 milk, then 1/3 flour, the rest of milk and flour, mixing until just combined.
Pour batter over plums, bake until golden, about 1 hr. Let cool in pan for about 15 min, run a knife around the edges and carefully invert onto serving platter. Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream.