Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dimply Plum Cake

I fell victim to the plums at the grocery store the other day. I had no intention of buying plums and no clear idea of what I was going to do with them once I got them, but when I came around the corner of the store and saw the produce section the plums were piled high and looked perfect. I couldn't help myself. I didn't even have a bag to put them in, I just started selecting plums from the pile and putting them in the cart.

Since I didn't even know what I was going to do with them, I had no idea how many to buy. I stopped at a dozen because I figured that would cover at least one recipe and leave a couple for munching. As soon as I got home picked up the one book that I knew had a couple of plum recipes and picked one -- the Dimply Plum Cake from Dorie Greenspan. I also put plums into the Food Blog Search, and sure enough, the Dorie Plum Cake came up more than once. Good enough for me.

The problem that quickly presented itself was that I have never pitted plums before -- holy crap what a pain. In the pictures of the cake in the book the plums are perfectly halved and sit prettily on top of the cake. I ended up sticking my thumb through the side of more than one plum trying to get the stupid seed out. Luckily I had more than enough to get the job done, and I could just eat the mutilated ones. :)

I ended up slightly over-baking the cake which was a shame. Other than the over-baking thing though the cake is quite good. Sweet cake contrasting with lots of tart/sweet plums. Oh, and I think the cake is better the second or third day than the first because the plum juice keeps it nice and moist.

1 1/2 cups all purpose four
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of one lemon (I left this out, by accident, mostly)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8x8 baking dish or a glass pie plate and set aside.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom.

3. In a stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. Pour the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrange the plums on top, cut side up.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.