I've been making the famous plum cake recipe (I think it's the Marian Burros?) for a few summers now because I love the look and it's so simple, but I've honestly always found it a bit dry. I've played with it a little in the past, but I never want to futz with it much because its simplicity and the fact that I have it memorized are much of its appeal.
Well last week's farmer's market had the final crop or so of the Italian prune plums, so I figured I'd make a cake for the freezer in case of holiday breakfast emergencies, and figured I'd make one final attempt at moistening it up without losing its bare bones, goes with coffee, tea, milk or port quality. Um, I'm mildly ashamed to admit that instead of popping it in the freezer, the husband and I thought we'd sample it first because it smelled and looked heavenly, with a sugary syrupy crystal-y glaze on top we thought we'd lose when frozen. And in the past 6 hours since it came out of the oven, we've eaten half of it. That's right, half an entire cake. I'm mortified. But also inordinately pleased with myself because I now have the recipe for the easiest, most delicious coffee cake. Let's just hope there are still a few plums there next week so I can make one for the freezer.
Apologies for the approximations - I was playing around with it and not measuring precisely. But it was such a simple fix and it's so insanely good I had to share!
Modified Plum Cake
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup softened unsalted butter (actually, it was probably 14 tbs or so - some had been lopped off for use at breakfast)
1 cup sugar
about 1/2 cup 2% Greek style (no sugar added) yogurt
15-20 prune plums depending on size of fruit and your pan
Halve the plums (over the bowl to catch the juices) and toss with approximately 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, splash of almond extract, and generous splash of brandy (maybe a tbs or so?). Let sit while you make the batter.
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and about a tsp of cinnamon. Cream butter, yogurt and sugar and blend with well-beaten eggs, then mix in flour mixture just until combined without flour streaks. Spread into the bottom of a lightly sprayed springform pan (it wil be very thick). Press plum halves skin side down in concentric circles so flat sides of plums are level with batter. Spoon remaining syrup over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 for 40-50 mins or until set in the center and pale golden. Separate the edges from the sides of the pan with a knife while the cake is still hot and let sit for about 5 more mins before removing the sides.
I'm looking forward to trying it with apples or pears next, and imagine amaretto would go brilliantly instead of the brandy.
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