When I was a kid I loved baking, read Gourmet magazine religiously, and once sent away for an informational packet for a Kitchen Aid mixer. In the 1970’s, you had to fill out a form, cut it from the back of the magazine and send it in an addressed, stamped envelope. Considering my typical dysfunctional 70’s childhood, it’s remarkable that I was able to do all of these things. When the large yellow envelope arrived, I felt an incredible excitement and then total sadness as I read the cost of this dream machine (the equivalent of $300 now). I then went back to using my grandmother’s avocado green handmixer.
The lack of a Kitchen Aid did not stop me from passionately baking elaborate cakes and desserts all throughout my childhood. I was lovingly gifted one by my generous mother-in-law when I was pregnant with my now 23 year-old daughter. And although for many years I used it almost to death (along with the Kitchen Aids of many clients), I more recently have found myself reverting back to making many of my desserts with a small hand mixer or wooden spoon. They all do the same job in the end.
This recipe can be made with a big kickass mixer, small handmixer, or wooden spoon. It looks a little long and complex for such a tiny outcome, but it is worth it for the sweet, cute, deliciousness! And it can be made a little ahead of time (same day) and looks very elegant finishing off a fancy dinner party. The best part of it in my mind however, is when you present it as a CAKELET, the best word ever! Now, get moving and make them!
Caramelized Upside-Down Plum Cakelets
Makes 6 individual servings.
6 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
5 plums, pitted and sliced
3/4 cup gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Big pinch of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1/2 a lemon or orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the ramekins generously and place them on a small, parchment or greased foil-lined baking tray (I use a 1/4 sheet size and you will thank me for lining it in the end!). Melt 6 T of the butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and whisk. It will separate and look super greasy at first, but persist and it will turn into a silky and smooth sauce. Pour carefully into equal amounts into the ramikins and place a fanned layer of plum slices right onto the sauce.
Sift the five dry ingredients into a smallish bowl.
Use an electric hand mixer (or wooden spoon) to cream the 4 T of butter with the sugar and orange zest. Add the egg and vanilla till combined. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter.
Divide the batter into the ramekins and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cakes are firm to the touch, and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a rack until you can just pick them up. Run a small knife around the edges of the cake and flip onto small serving plates. If you buttered the ramekins well, the should come out easily. You may have a reluctant piece of plum to fish out and rearrange.
You can serve these warm or at room temperature. I love them with a little whipped cream that you’ve added a few spoonfuls of creme fraiche to...They don’t do quite as well the next day.