Oct 18, 2010

Open-Face Plum Cake

This is a delicious and very easy dessert to make if you have any plums lying around - plums are in season between July-Thanksgiving, so if you want to try this, now would be the perfect time. Plums are the real star of this dessert - the cake is almost secondary, yet equally delicious because it serves as the perfect base for the fruit. The plums caramelize, soften and bake perfectly into the cake, yet retain their shape and slight firmness. The sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and a dab of butter on or around each plum half is all you need to highlight the fruit. It comes out of the oven looking fantastic – your guests will surely be impressed, yet it was really no effort at all. This would be the perfect dish to make for a brunch or a lazy weekend afternoon with some coffee or tea.

We cut the recipe in half, as it makes 2 cakes. If you want to make both you can follow Martha’s recipe here, otherwise scroll down for a halved version. 
Caitlin: This dessert was little to no effort, but the presentation was great! We had ours on a Saturday afternoon after a late lunch and devoured almost the entire pan, however, it was still good the next morning with my cup of coffee. I recommend making this at home so your guests can see it come out of the oven and marvel at your baking skills (you can leave out the part about how incredibly easy it was…).
Monica: When I first saw this recipe on the Martha Stewart website, it jumped out at me as definite must try…and I am glad I did! Not only is it quite simple; it is also incredibly tasty thanks in major part to the fruit.

Ingredient List                                
¾ cup of flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
¼ cup milk
1/8 cup
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
4-5 plums – red or black
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease one round baking dish or cake pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the sugar, milk, oil and egg. Fold it into the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the baking dish. Arrange the plums, cut side over the batter.Don’t worry if you think it’s not enough – it rises considerably when baking.

Take cinnamon and a tbsp of sugar and combine. Sprinkle over the plums and cake and dot with butter. Bake until the plums are soft, the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean – about 30-35 minutes. Let cool and serve!

This is a versatile cake, so if you’re baking it in the autumn/winter months, other fruit can be used such as pears, late autumn figs, cranberries or persimmons. In summer, it would be fantastic with other stone fruits such nectarines, peaches, apricots or cherries.

You can add a tsp of vanilla into the cake batter for added sweetness.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on top after baking.

If serving for dessert at night, have it a la mode with vanilla bean ice cream.

Caitlin: I was listening to Phoenix as I made this – it was great Saturday afternoon music.
Monica: I baked this cake on a cool, cloudy Saturday afternoon in October.  I could not settle on one album so these are a few of my recommendations to help you enjoy the sweetness this cake embodies:
  1) “English Tea Paul McCartney

  2) “La Vie en Rose Madeline Peyroux
  3) “Solsbury Hill Peter Gabriel
  4) “Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea” George Harrison

  5) My Favorite Things John Coltrane      

Drink of Choice
Caitlin: We had spiced cider. If you want to add a little extra “warmth” to it, spike it with some rum!
Monica: A light herbal tea, in this case, I chose chamomile.

A Recipe to Remember?
Absolutely - It was effortless and tasted great!

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