Plum and Blueberry Upside Down Torte

I’m back!

I think this week’s heavenly cake bakers choice was perfect timing. It’s definitely quick and easy, but it also involved heating a sugar syrup on the stove, so I got to use the new gas stove, as well as my new oven. We don’t have our cabinets yet, but everything else is in the kitchen. My good friend Matt and his girlfriend came over on Saturday afternoon and helped us move the new appliances in, as well as move the fridge and our old extra free-standing cabinet back into the kitchen from the dining room, so we can cook again!

Mise en place is more important than ever, when your ingredients and tools are spread throughout the house.

Mise en Place

Once everything is ready to go, it’s time to start the sugar syrup. I think the gas stove is going to take me a bit of getting used to, but there’s lots of time for that.

Sugar Syrup

Once the sugar is caramelized, you pour it into the cake pan, then arrange the fruit on top of it.

Fruit in the cake pan

For the batter, start by combining the dry ingredients, then mix in the butter until moistened and ‘clumpy’.

Dry ingredients + butter

Mix in the egg and vanilla, then spread over the fruit.

Ready for the oven

This is the first time in my life I’ve owned a brand new oven. When I moved out for grad school, I rented for a few years, then when we bought this place, it came with appliances. While the oven was fairly new, it was bottom of the line, and had been used so had some of that grime that never really comes off. Not this one! It’s all mine!

Hey, I can actually see through the door!

It’s not quite properly nestled into its permanent home between cabinets yet, though. 😉

It looks so... lonely

We do have one base cabinet unit that we purchased about 4 years and an address ago. We bought this when we moved into our rented townhouse after we got married, because the kitchen there just didn’t have enough counter space for two people who love to cook. Heck, it barely had space for 1 person who loved to cook. Don’t worry. That wire coming out of the wall is shut off at the breaker — it’s for the under cabinet lighting.

Temporary cabinet

I can’t wait to get rid of that thing. On the other end of the spectrum, I love our new windows, and the fume hood we picked out. We bought all of the appliances so far in the ‘clearance’ (aka scratch and dent/floor model) section of a local appliance store. As far as I’m concerned, pre-existing scratches just mean that I don’t have to feel guilty the first time I scratch something.

Range and fume hood

You don’t realize how amazing it is to have a sink in the kitchen until you spend a month doing dishes in the basement in a laundry sink with the dish drainer on top of the washing machine. I’m so grateful to my wonderful husband that it was only a month!

Sink and fridge

Ok, enough of the kitchen tour. The cake’s ready to come out of the oven.

Cake, unmolded

Maybe someone can tell me what went wrong here. I know I didn’t quite get the sugar completely to the “caramel” point, but why did it crystallize? Rose says in the recipe not to worry if it hardens in the pan because it will re-melt during baking. I don’t think mine did, because it all stayed in the bottom of the pan when I turned the cake out.

Finished cake

No worries, though, because the cake was still delicious! I’m not sure the caramel would have really added much.

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14 thoughts on “Plum and Blueberry Upside Down Torte

  1. Hi Kristina – first of all, I’m so happy you are able to use your kitchen. Congratulations on your new appliances. Hopefully it won’t be long until the whole project is done.

    As for your crystallization – the only cause I know of this happening is the introduction of actual sugar crystals to the sugar syrup. For example, stirring your finished sugar syrup with a utensil that had undissolved sugar on it. Or, pouring sugar syrup out of a pan that has crystallized sugar on the sides of the pan. Also, it’s possible the sugar crystals in your syrup were not fully dissolved when you poured the syrup into your cake pan.

    I hope that helps you solve the mystery.

    🙂
    ButterYum

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  2. ב”ה

    Hey, looks like you got the real greengage plums. Its a better color contrast with the blueberries than the purple plums. How did they compare tastewise?

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  3. ButterYum, I did pour it out of a pan with some sugar crystals on the side, but I poured it out of the side with less. I had been brushing down the sides of the pan earlier on in the cooking, because it had started crystallizing a bit. In the cake pan it had hardened by the time I finished putting the plums in, but it hardened completely clear, not crystallized. *shrug* I dunno. Next time I try it, I guess I’ll brush the sides of the pan down all the way through cooking. Thanks!

    Mendy, the green Niagara plums were nice and tart. Much more tart than purple usually are. I bought them from a local farm market that sells mostly local produce. I love buying great produce on my way home from work!

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  4. Ohhhhh I’m so jealous of your gas stove!!!! I miss mine (my old house had one – the new rental has a crappy electric stove – 1 year later and I still cannot get the hang of that thing).

    The kitchen is looking good – all nice a bright, great light for pictures!

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  5. Beautiful cake and congrats on getting green plums!

    The thing about the caramel is that if there isn’t enough liquid from the fruit to dissolve the hardened sugar, then some of it remains hard and stuck to the pan. If you want to incorporate it, you can place it back on the cake, cover and let it sit for a day- that will allow the moisture in the cake to fully dissolve the caramel.

    As for getting enough liquid from the fruit, sometimes it’s a matter of arranging the fruit with no gaps, other times it’s just a quirk of the fruit. Maybe your berries didn’t burst early enough in the cooking process for the released juices to dissolve the caramel. Or maybe your fruit was a little less than the recipe called for (and so there was less liquid).

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  6. Yup, we have both. Stainless steel is “mine”. Black is “hubby’s”. The fact that they don’t match is a result of buying on clearance. The black is gas range and gas oven (good for bread, I hear). The stainless is electric. Both have convection.

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  7. you’re back! it is good to see your kitchen is coming together, and you are back to washing dishes in the kitchen!! hooray! i had a botched caramel too, but i think the cake didn’t need it, the fruit was so good. i love the contrast in colors between the plums and the blueberries.

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  8. Mom! So glad to see you found the kitchen pictures. Here’s the schedule for the next several weeks:

    * September 6: Gold Ingots
    * September 13: Free Choice
    * September 20: Apple Caramel Charlotte
    * September 27: Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache
    * October 4: Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes with Homemade Brioche

    With any luck, we’ll be getting the cabinets by the week of the 20th, so I should be in good shape to bake the last two cakes, I would think.

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