Upside Down Plum (or Pear) Ginger Cake

Last week was a week of firsts:

My first foray into retail:

Panzer’s Delicatessen re-opened its doors last Thursday morning, newly renovated for the first time since 1944, and it is beautiful. As loyal customer for almost my entire life, it’s been an honour and a pleasure to switch sides and consult with Panzer’s on their new coffee bar and deli. While fewer hours were dedicated to the blog, many days were spent menu planning and sourcing the best artisan bakers London (and beyond) has to offer for my favourite specialist destination delicatessen. Finally, there is great coffee and sourdough available in the neighbourhood, as well as all the old gourmet staples for the loyal Panzer's customers (like me) on a daily basis. What a thrill it was to serve rather than to buy on those first few days of trading in the new space.


The first BF products for sale (at the Panzer's coffee bar):

Nestled amongst some of London’s baking great’s, daily specials and seasonal treats, you will find my seed clusters and some BRAND NEW double chocolate cinnamon cookies. so if you are in the neighbourhood, get them while you can. It is a dream come true to share a counter with some of my baking heroes including The Dusty Knuckle, Pump Street Bakery, Bread Ahead,The Good Egg, Karma Bread, and Babelle Caneles, and many more to come over the coming months.

My first ride on a forbidden mode of transport:

Onto a lighter, less professional and more rebellious note, the biggest first of the week was hopping on the back of a scooter. Sorry Mum. Growing up I broke just about every household rule apart from this one. But when Jeremy arrived to collect me for our meeting with helmet in hand I knew my time had come. And what a thrill it was riding through Regent’s Park with the wind in my face. I might have to do it again.


So, to celebrate this week of firsts and turning everything on its head, I made Upside Down Ginger Cake, an old favourite from one of the many recipe scrapbooks started all those years ago before the internet. With all the newness of the week I was craving something familiar. As it’s from the years before I wrote about food and didn’t bother to reference sources, I actually don't know exactly where the original recipe came from. The font and paper look like Donna Hay (but don't hold me to that). Rest assured, I have altered the method, tinkered with the ingredients and flavour and I personally prefer it best with plums rather than pears (as the original states), and I happily devour it in any form.


Upside Down Plum (or Pear) and Ginger Cake

Warmly spiced and comforting, this is not a traditionally dark molasses-y cake, it is a light moist golden syrupy buttery nostalgic cake, delicious topped (or bottomed) with just about any autumnal fruit of choice. And it is simple as pie to make as you can just whip it up in a bowl with a spoon. No mixer required. Win win.

It works just as well with plums, apples or pears. Plums are in the ingredients list, but the note at the bottom will give you the quantities of apples or pears if you prefer.

125g (4oz.) unsalted butter

350g (1 cup) golden syrup

175g (1 cup) soft brown sugar

180ml (3/4 cup) whole milk

250g (1 2/3 cups) plain flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 good size ripe plums, sliced in to 12 pieces

(if you only have small plums available, use 8-10 and slice them into 8 pieces each. You don’t want the slices to be too thin)

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

Butter and line a 22cm (9 inch) springform pan with baking parchment

In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, golden syrup, sugar and milk and stir until it is all melted together and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes

In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients and set aside.

While the butter/sugar mixture is cooling, slice the plums and arrange on the bottom of your baking tin. Feel free to be creative here and lay them out in any pattern of your choice, or simply scatter them in one layer.

When the warm butter mixture has cooled slightly, add the egg and vanilla extract and stir. Then carefully mix in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula until it is fully combined and no lumps remain.

Pour the batter over the fruit and bang the pan once on the worktop to level everything out before putting it in the oven.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the edge of the tin.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then cool completely before turning upside down onto a serving plate.

Note: If you want to use apples or pears for this cake, I prefer Williams pears or a tart apple varietiy. Depending on their size, you should need 4, peeled, and sliced about 1cm thick (not too thin, not too thick if you really want to be technical…). This also works well with fresh cranberries (approximately 150g), although you might want to toss them with a little extra brown sugar and some orange zest before pouring them into the bottom of the pan.