Hazelnut and Pecan Pluot Upside Down Cakes (GF)

 I've always had some slight misgivings about plums. To start, they come in so many varieties, often so different in texture, taste, and appearance that I am left wondering how they can possibly fall under the same name. Sometimes they are juicy, firm, and full of flavor, but often the tangy skin yields to a bland and mushy interior. It is this infuriating inconsistency that really gets to me. And I assume that many others before me must have wrestled with similar internal plum-related demons, or else the pluot would not have come into existence. If you took every good quality that a plum has the potential to possess, and eliminated all the bad, you would be left with the pluot. This hybrid fruit, a cross between the plum and the apricot, is unfailingly delicious. This is why, whenever late summer rolls around, I forgo the boxes of duplicitous plums and fill my cart with their more dependable cousins. 
While pluots are near-perfect in themselves, a layer of sticky brown sugar caramel and moist, nutty cake render them irresistible. I used a slight variation on my apple teacake recipe for the cake base and followed The Bojon Gourmet's recipe for the caramelized plum topping with only a few minor adjustments. These miniature upside-down cakes are the pinnacle of summer treats. 
Hazelnut and Pecan 
Pluot Upside Down Cakes

Makes 12 upside down cakes and 3 hazelnut pecan cakes
Makes enough for 12 cakes
          2 medium pluots (I only used 1 1/2)
          2 tbsp butter
          1/4 cup light brown sugar
          Pinch of salt
          2 tbsp Calvados  
      Makes enough for 15 cakes 
          125 g superfine brown rice flour (I just run regular brown rice flour through the blender to eliminate the grittiness it sometimes adds)
          20 g tapioca flour
          1/8 tsp xanthan gum
          1 1/2 tsp baking powder
          1/4 tsp salt
          1/2 tsp cinnamon
          25 g ground hazelnuts
          25 g ground pecans
          140 g butter, browned
          85 g light brown sugar
          95 g maple syrup
          1 tsp vanilla extract
          2 eggs 
Grease a muffin tin (to make 12 cakes).
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the brown sugar and salt. Cook until the mixture is bubbling, but be careful as over cooking with cause the sugar to blacken and burn. Add the Calvados slowly as adding it too quickly will cause the mixture to flame. 
While the caramel is liquid, divide it amongst the wells of the muffin tin so that the bottom of each well is lined with a thin layer of the caramel. 
Thinly slice the pluots and line the bottom of each well with a couple slices of pluot. 
Set aside while you prepare the cake.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease three extra cake molds (I used mini brioche tins, but recommend something smooth as the cake stuck to the fluted edges) for the extra batter.
Whisk together the first eight ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cooled browned butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and eggs.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well-combined. 
Divide the batter amongst the 12 wells of your lined muffin tin so that each tin is about 3/4 full. Divide the remaining batter amongst your extra molds. I had enough to yield three extra little cakes.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown. 


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