Like most of California, San Francisco has been experiencing a heat wave during the past few days. And when I say heat wave, I mean temperatures in the 80s. You may laugh, but 80 is considered hot in these parts. "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" is a quote (mistakenly) attributed to Mark Twain. Regardless of the origin, there is some truth to the saying (just ask any tourist), that is, until late August or early September. That's when the San Francisco summer really begins. We can bask in some summer warmth during these final summer days and into the start of autumn as well.
What better way to celebrate the season than to throw a party? That's exactly what Ivonne of Cream Puffs In Venice and Lisa of La Mia Cucina are doing. La Festa al Fresco is a virtual patio party and they've invited everyone. All they ask is that guests bring a party dish featuring a fresh, seasonal ingredient. I chose black friar plums and blackberries for my upside down polenta cake. The polenta adds a nice crunch to this not too sweet cake from the August 2007 issue of BHG. The original recipe called for an assortment of berries, but the plums were too good to pass up. But feel free to use blueberries, raspberries or even huckleberries (if you are lucky enough to find some). See you at the party!
Upside Down Polenta Cake
(adapted from Better Homes & Garden August 2007)
3/4 cup fresh plums, chopped
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup polenta
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp lemon or orange zest
2 large eggs, at room temp
2/3 cup whole milk, at room temp
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp milk
2 tsp lemon or orange juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Line bottom with a parchment paper circle and butter paper.
Arrange blackberries and chopped plums in the bottom of your prepared pan. In a large bowl, stir together flour, polenta, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk sugar and zest. Whisk in eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir until just combined.
Pour batter over fruit and spread evenly. Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Invert onto a cake rack. Remove parchment paper.
Optional icing: Whisk sugar, milk and juice until smooth. Spoon over or lightly brush on warm cake.