How did we like the Plum Blueberry Upside Down Torte? Here are a few of the conclusions: Raymond "liked its old-fashioned simplicity." Mendy thought it was "easy and delicious." Jenn went him one better: "awesomely good and super-duper delicious." Lynnette thought it was "one of the easiest and one of the most flavorful" of the cakes she's baked so far. Julie said it was "easy to make" and had "nice balance of flavors." Do you see a theme here? It was EASY. Not that we're not up to challenges--we are. But what a treat it is to find a cake that's, as Mendy says, both easy and delicious.
Congratulations to Kristina! She managed to bake this cake in her new oven, even though her new kitchen is still far from being done. That's dedication!
And congratulations to Jennifer too. Although normally you don't get congratulated for being confused, I'm going to make an exception with Jennifer. Her confusion: she thought the the plum-blueberry cake was the week before (the week of the lemon meringue cake), and she made a trek to Sauvie Island Farms to pick her own blueberries. Not wanting to let the blueberries go bad (naturally), and not wanting to miss the lemon meringue cake (again, naturally), she just squared her shoulders and made both cakes in the same weekend.
I figured there would be lots of alternatives to the plum-and-blueberry combo, but most people stuck to the recipe. A few people strayed from the path: Lola added blackberries; Monica ("good enough to eat--for those who like fruit") used pluots; Lynnette thought apricots were a good substitute; and Katya added peaches to the mix. Gartblue used the standard fruit, although she threatened to add Malaysia's infamous durian fruit.
On the other hand, there were a few people who were able actually to find the coveted greengage plums (or an approximation thereof).
Vicki spent hours driving around looking for greengages, and finally found something called "Kelsey greengages" in a small produce stand--the last place she stopped at after many discouraged stops. Nancy B. had to be satisfied with some unknown kind of green plum that did not call itself a greengage.
And Joan (who was obsessively taking the tart's temperature) didn't even say where she got hers.
This week's FEATURED BAKER gets the "Silk Purse out of a Sow's Ear" Award for her very clever save. Lois was doing the fear-inducing, gravity-defying part of this recipe--turning it upside down--when she realized that the middle of her cake was seriously uncooked. She had no choice but to put it back in the pan and bake it another 5 minutes or so. But when she re-flipped it, it didn't look pretty. Rather than giving up on it, however, she remembered that whipped cream covers a multitude of sins. And she didn't just slather the whipped cream on--she elegantly piped it on. So professional was her piping job that the people who saw it assumed she'd bought it from a fancy-schmancy bakery!
Next week we're back to chocolate. To make a whole recipe, you actually have to make two separate cakes. In other words, if you make only one cake, you'll be making half a recipe. So those of you who typically cut the recipes in half will not have to do any scary math tricks. To make the cake you'll need a standard-size half-sheet pan.
You can frost and fill this four-layer cake either with a light whipped ganache filling or with gelatin-stabilized whipped cream. I think I'll let Jim decide.
After that, we'll do Marionberry Shortcakes, using the elusive Marionberry. Elusive unless you live in the Pacific Northwest, that is. For the rest of us, frozen marionberries are a good substitute. (I found them at Whole Foods).
By the way, if baking a cake every week isn't enough of a challenge for you, Heavenly Bakers Monica and Jenn are starting another make-through challenge. They're looking for about 30 people who'd like to try a recipe once a week from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible, by Victoria Blashford-Snell. See Monica's blog if you'd like more information.