we are back to the farmer's market this week. i was seduced by a plum. it's hardly my fault.
there are lots of pretty plums in the world. the typical red Satsuma plums. the little yellow and green plums.
but the plums that got me were these. italian prune plums. so dark purple they are almost blue with a lovely ashy skin. according to the internets, they aren't so good for eating out of hand, but better for baking. especially on a stormy summer afternoon. sold!
manchego liked them too. or maybe it was the squirrel stealing our cherry tomatoes outside the window.
just kidding. the porch plants are so weak this year, the squirrel has given up on us. i've given up on us. on the plus side, since i've stopped watering the squash and tomatoes, i have SO MUCH MORE TIME. war and peace kind of time. plum cake kind of time.
sincere apologies to the dear friend who helped keep them alive during our vacation this year. i started the summer with such hope. there's always next year.
anyway, here are our ingredients. it's a simple cake.
there are a lot of plum recipes out there. tarts. rustic crostatas and galettes. crepes. treats involving almond flour, pastry cream, spring-form pans. sorbets for those uninclined to turn on the oven. if you are feeling ambitious, i encourage you to try any of those yummy looking recipes.
me, i've been on a lazy streak lately.
i googled until i found something super easy. yet, something classic. something blessed by not just the new york times and the spendid table, but also by an anonymous chowhound commenter.
let's get started. halve those plums.
so pretty, the pale green center with the dusty purple skin.
i'll be honest – the pits were a little bit of a b*!@& to pry out of the plums. we had words.
once you've liberated your plum halves, let them hang out with the lemon juice and cinnamon. then nestle them in the batter. the batter is thick and sticky.
the plums cook down and get jammy. they stay a little tart, which is a nice foil against the cake, which is sweet but not too sweet. not as sweet as the amount of sugar would lead you to believe. and the cake has a nice light crumb.
the edges of the cake are a lovely chewy crust – and with a slightly gooey center, it's kind of like a really good brownie. without the chocolate. win some, lose some.
i slightly undercooked the cake. don't be like me. gooey is good – but the middle of my cake was inedible. don't tell the cake police. just bake your cake until it's done!
but the edges.
crusty, chewy, just the right amount of gooey.
see? it's even like the cake is smiling.
Italian Prune Plum Cake
Basically as seen in: The New York Times and the Spendid Table, but also by an Anonymous Chowhound Commenter
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup plus 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- Pinch salt
- 1 lemon, zest & juice
- 7 Italian (prune or purple) plums
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or more, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Halve and pit the plums. Toss with 2 tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon and juice of one lemon. Let the plums soak up the goodness.
Cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Let it get good and fluffy. Add flour and baking power and mix until just combined. Add eggs, salt and lemon zest, and mix again until just combined. Light touch!
Scoop into a greased baking dish. I used a 12x9ish baking pan. Nestle in your plums, skin side down. Don't be shy with that cinnamon.
Bake for about an hour or until the middle isn't gooey. Let it get good and golden brown. Cool, slice and serve with a little powdered sugar!
oh my god.
Argh, but where can I find Italian prune plums? This is one of those foods where there is so much I want to do with it (and now here’s one more…), but I can’t ever find it. I went through this last year with quince. Sniff.