Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another Autumn Treat (Made During Summer)

So, I did a lot of baking for Rosh Hashanah. I made apple cake, orange cake, chocolate sorbet and a few other things I can't remember. However, due to an unfortunately timed stomach flu, I could not take pictures of any of it. However, the week before Rosh Hashanah I made this cake, which I think is a little taste of fall, since these small Italian prune plums only come out in the fall. However, here in Texas, fall doesn't come (as far as I can tell), but the fruit does.

This is a recipe I have made before. It is from Dorie, obviously, and it is called Dimply Plum Cake. It is really, really good. The first I made this, I made it with large plums, and did not need all 8 plums that the recipe calls for. When I made it with the smaller plums, I did use all eight. I think it is much better with the small plums, because when you cut it, everyone gets a plum, and you don't have to hack away at cooked fruit, which is always a plus. Anyway, you should make this cake when you are in a fall mood. It is a good cake to mark the transition from fall to summer.

Here's the recipe:

Dimply Plum Cake

- makes 8 servings -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or sunflower
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted


Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, if you’re using it.

2. Working with a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Still working on medium speed, beat in the oil, zest and vanilla—the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

3. Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter—I usually make four rows of four plum halves each—jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes—during which time the plums’ juices will seep back into the cake—then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Storing: You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

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