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This recipe for Upside-down Plum Cake was created by Chef Paul Niddrie. Paul recently joined The Essential Ingredient Newcastle as head of wholesale and has been working with food for over 10 years. He trained out of Hamilton TAFE before working eateries in the Hunter Region, such as Muse Kitchen and restaurant Flotilla. His approach to cooking is all about knowing how to create incredibly flavourful food using seasonal, local produce. Without sounding cliché; he very clearly has a deep love affair with food and for bringing people joy through the art of cooking.
Preheat an oven to 175°C. Liberally spray a 22cm baking tin with oil to stop the cake from sticking.
To make a toffee, place water into a medium saucepan. Rain sugar into the water. Place over medium high heat, then cook until a deeply golden-coloured caramel has formed. Pour the toffee into the cake pan, swirling to cover the base completely. Try not to get the toffee on the walls of the baking tin however. Whilst the toffee is still warm place the cheeks of the red plums into the caramel. Take care in making the plums as neat as possible as this will be the top of your cake! Place the tin aside.
In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together the butter and sugars until softened. Add the eggs one at a time, then scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add this to the batter as well.
Add half the dry ingredients to the batter, beating until just combined. Pour in the milk and mix until fully incorporated. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the cake batter over the fruit and toffee then place into the preheated oven. Bake until a skewer comes out clean, for approximately 1 hour. Let the cake cool slightly on a wire rack, then turn it out onto a serving plate. Leave to cool completely.
Put 90ml of water into a medium pan, then rain in the castor sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until golden. Add the plums and stir until the colour of the plums has stained the caramel red (see below). Cook for a moment longer until the fruit is soft, but no more than 2 minutes. Add cream, then the zest and juice of the lime. Stir well and cook for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a blender, or use a stick blender to puree until smooth, then place the caramel into a serving jug.
Once the cake has cooled completely dust it with grated black lime and snow sugar. Serve with plum caramel and ice cream if you wish.
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