Dog days. Down dog. Upside down cake.

Perhaps my recent re-dedication to my yoga practice has inspired me in the kitchen. For some reason, I couldn’t get the thought of stone-fruit upside down cake off my mind. Here it was, nearly 95 degrees outside, and all I could think about was what fruit, and what spices would be best for a Labor Day weekend upside down cake. Had all that downward facing dog succeeded in getting me to admire the world from a different angle? Or had it merely caused me to temporarily lose my mind, yearning as I was to crank the oven up on such a hot day?

Hot as it may have been, the cake won. I headed to the market and picked up 2 pounds of gorgeous Italian plums. Back at home, I cored each plum, then carefully cut them into perfect thin slices. I whipped up a cake batter, spiked with a touch of cardamom; caramelized brown sugar and butter together in my cast iron skillet; then artfully arranged slice after slice of delicate purple plum in concentric circles around the skillet. Finally, I spread the cake batter evenly over the tops of the plums, and popped the skillet into the oven. It would be a gorgeous gooey work of art. And I couldn’t wait to sink my fork into it!

I didn’t even know if my friends were fans of plums. I would do my best to win them over with this dessert! A few minutes into baking and the heavenly scent of cardamom began to fill the house. I knew I had made the right choice then, heat wave be damned.

The cake baked up light, airy, springy and golden, the plums below caramelized to perfection, their natural tartness balanced by brown sugar’s sweetness and cardamom’s spice. When turned out onto a plate, it was pretty as a picture…but I forgot to take one! My apologies, loyal readers. But never fear, as my favorite food tester said, you MUST make this cake again!!! I can’t let my fans down, so make it again, I shall :)

Biting into the cake, I was transcended to that blissful state of complete and utter Zen…not unlike the effect of downward facing dog. Hmmm…perhaps I should take more culinary cues from my yoga practice. If this cake is any indication, amazing things can happen when your mind is completely clear.