Leave it to Deb to get me back in the kitchen! I mean, when that lady says “jump”, I’m the first to ask “how high?” so it stands to follow that when Deb says “make this plum cake,” I know it’s in my best interest to bust out the butter and search for some plums.
Except, as luck would have it, I didn’t have to search very far, because my neighbor, Martha, happens to have a plum tree in her yard, and Martha also happens to be quite generous (in general, but also specifically in plums), so as it happened, just as soon as I got it in my head to make plum cake, there was Martha, bag of plums in hand, to save the day.
The cake lives up to the hype. It’s a cinch to make (you could easily do it in the short span it takes for, say, a 6-month old to wear himself out on his play mat… just saying), looks beautiful, and tastes like it should — perfectly sweet, warmly spiced, and happily damp with fresh plum. I find it a perfect segue from summer to fall, using both the last of the season’s sweet, juicy fruit, and also a generous dash of warm cinnamon.
I actually made two of these plum cakes in one day — one for some neighbors who just welcomed their own new babe, and one for my own family to gobble up in a single (yep, just one) day. What I’m saying is, we need more plum cake. (Once plums are gone, I may give this another try with pears, although I don’t think Martha has a pear tree. Shoot).
In other news, I feel like I’ve typed “plums” one too many times today and now I can’t look at the word without feeling like it’s spelled wrong. Plums. PLUMS. Plummmmms.
I think it’s time for me to go.
And as an aside, we haven’t given Calder much solid food yet but we let him sort of gum and suck on a (ahem) plum and it was both amazing and hysterical. Boy loves him some PLUM.
Plum Cake, by way of Deb
Barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon (reserved) for the top
- 2 large eggs
- 12 purple Italian prune plums, halved and pitted (can substitute another kind of plum, if necessary)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan (or an 8×8 square pan, which I’ve done in the photos, above — just note that it’s harder to get the cake out of this kind of pan).
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix gently until the batter is homogeneous.
Spread the cake batter in an even layer in the prepared pan. Arrange the plums, cut-sides down, tightly over the batter. Drizzle lemon juice over the plums, then sprinkle thickly with the remaining sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan before slicing and serving!
Note: Deb says this cake is best the day after it’s baked, when the plum juice has had time to creep into all the cakey corners, and I agree, though if you can’t help yourself and want to eat it as soon as it’s made, you’re in good company.
heather (delicious not gorgeous)
welcome back! hope you’ve been well. if deb’s recommendation, as well as the fact that you have a neighbor who gives you boatloads of plums (named martha! i’m stereotyping her as a lovely woman who gives out cookies to the neighborhood children), and that you made 2 in a day, isn’t enough to convince someone of how delicious this cake is, i don’t know what would.
Thank you, Heather! (Also, you have Martha’s number, for sure :))
OMG this looks amazing! I’m making ASAP. or sooner 🙂
Bruce Rits Gilbert
Did Calder get a taste of one of the plum cakes? Or did he only eat the plums???
Welcome back! Missed your blog.
I’ve been making this cake for over 20 years (and I’m not that old!) Did you see that the NY Times just made suggested variations on the original recipe?
Molly- I hope Martha has some plums for the rest of us neighbors….