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RECIPE | Caramelised plum upside-down cake

'This cake is one my Mum used to make. She always said plums are an unreliable fruit - they can be quite sour when raw. This brings out the best in them,' says Faiza Hayani Bellili, one of the contributors to 'Together: Our Community Cookbook'

07 October 2018 - 00:00 By Faiza Hayani Bellili/'Together: Our Community Cookbook'
Caramelised plum upside-down cake.
Caramelised plum upside-down cake.
Image: Jenny Zarins

Serves: 8 - 10


10ml (2 tsp) sunflower oil, for greasing

300g granulated sugar

100g unsalted butter, very soft

2.5ml (½ tsp) vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

8 plums, halved and stoned

40g dark brown soft sugar

2 eggs, beaten

25g cornflour

50g ground almonds

100g (200ml) flour

5ml (1 tsp) baking powder

'Together: Our Community Cookbook' (Edbury Press/Penguin Random House).
'Together: Our Community Cookbook' (Edbury Press/Penguin Random House).
Image: Jenny Zarins


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Grease a 23cm round springform cake tin with the sunflower oil and place on a baking sheet.
  3. For the caramel, put 225g of the granulated sugar into a small, wide, heavy pan on a low heat. Without stirring, let the sugar dissolve completely. Once liquid, let it gently bubble for 15-20 minutes or until it is a deep golden colour. Add 10g of the butter, half the vanilla extract and the salt, gently swirling the pan to combine the butter as it melts. Once fully incorporated, immediately remove from the heat and pour the caramel into the prepared cake tin.
  4.  Place the plum halves on top of the caramel, cut side down, nestled tightly together, and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining butter together with the remaining granulated sugar and the brown sugar until pale and creamy: this will take 2-3 minutes using a handheld electric whisk; if you don't have one, use a wooden spoon.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
  7. Once the eggs are well combined, add the remaining vanilla extract, the cornflour, ground almonds, flour and baking powder to the bowl and fold through with a metal spoon until just combined (taking care not to over-mix), then pour mixture over the plums.
  8. Smooth over the top, then bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through: a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  9. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate. To do this, put the serving plate on top of the tin and flip over before releasing the sides of the tin and removing the base. Let the cake cool for a further 5 minutes before slicing.

Recipe and photo extracted from 'Together: Our Community Cookbook' (Ebury Press/ Penguin Random House). All the proceeds from the sale of this cookbook will go to the Hubb Community Kitchen, a charitable initiative championed by the Duchess of Sussex. The hardcover cookbook will be available in South African book stores from November 12, for R455.