Thursday, 5 September 2013

Plum & Blueberry Upside Down Cake (gluten free)

This week we have had a load of plums screaming at us to be eaten, so I have been trying to find inventive ways to use them before they go off. The plums are really sweet and very juicy and my daughter came up with the wonderful idea of making a plum upside down cake.

When I was little (way back in the 70's) I remember we got a new-fangled cooker called an infrared grill. It was orange, which was also such a 70's colour and it sat on the 70's formica work top being put through its paces, cooking up all sorts of meals. ............. I really hope someone else out there can remember them, because I am feeling very old recalling this!

If I remember right, you could remove the grill insert so that you could bake stuff. There were endless pineapple upside down puddings coming out of it.................gooey sticky syrup, dripping over circles of pineapple, each with a cherry in the middle and sat on top of a rectangular sponge. Truly a 70's pud! They were always one of my favourites - served hot with custard.

Anyway, enough of the 70's and back to the present...... With thoughts of upside down cake in our heads, we started trawling the internet to find some inspiration and within half an hour we had come across a lovely idea for combining the plums with blueberries in a recipe for upside down cake from 'Cook with Anna' (located in the website). My daughter insisted this was the one to go for and I had to agree that it looked like a good bet.

We have used our own sponge recipe as the original recipe was not gluten free and we have not kept rigidly to the stated quantities of fruit, but the idea stuck and our own version of Plum & Blueberry Upside Down Cake was born...........

Made with a sponge packed full of ground almonds it is moist, vanillary, very fruity and the most delightful colour. I reckon that as cakes go, it is reasonably good for you too! I would thoroughly recommend trying this one. The sponge is quite dense, but still light and the fruit adds a lovely purple-pink tartness against the sweet vanilla base. Wonderful eaten cold, but equally delicious warm. It tastes great with custard, cream or ice cream (yes...we've tried all three).

We will definitely be making this one again.................. I reckon it would make a fab tray-bake for cutting into squares and popping in the school lunch box!

Plum & Blueberry Upside Down Cake


125g blueberries
about 8 plums (or double if using the damson-sized varieties)
50g butter - in small pieces
60g soft brown sugar

200g gluten free plain flour mix (I used mix A from this post)
15g ground almonds
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
220 ml milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

100g unsalted butter - room temperature
300g caster sugar
2 large eggs - room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
100g ground almonds (in addition to the above)


  1. Base line a 23 cm/9 inch loose-bottomed cake tin (7 cm/3 inches deep) with baking paper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4.
  3. Scatter the 50g butter and 60g soft brown sugar in the bottom of the cake tin and place in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes until the butter and sugar are melted and have started to bubble. About half way through this process, check the mixture and give a stir to combine before putting back into the oven to finish off.
  4. Once bubbling, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
  5. Whilst the butter-sugar mix is cooking, stone the plums and cut into quarters or smaller depending on the size of the plums.
  6. Arrange the plums in the base of the cake tin on top of the melted butter-sugar mix, then scatter the blueberries on top of the plums. Set aside.
  7. To make the sponge, weigh the flour, 15g ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt into a medium-sized bowl, mix together (ensuring any lumps are broken down) and set aside.
  8. Mix together the milk and vinegar in a jug and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  9. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
  10. Add and beat in the eggs one at a time and then beat in the vanilla extract.
  11. Fold the remaining almonds (100g) into the batter with a spatula or silicone/wooden spoon.
  12. Then add and fold in the milk alternately with the remaining dry ingredients about a third at a time. Be careful not to over-mix (the ingredients should be just combined).
  13. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin on top of the plums and blueberries and smooth the top to make as even as possible.
  14. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the cake is golden, a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the middle of the cake springs back to the touch.
  15. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the cake tin for 15 to 20 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.
  16. Eat either warm or cold on its own, with cream or with custard.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

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