Basking In The Light Of This Perfect Plum Cake

I have been remiss lately, not stopping by to share anything or say hello to all of you lovely folks. And to be honest it was due to the hectic schedule I have kept with work and some west coast visiting between and after jobs. Since my last real entry I have been to (and deep breath for effect, imagine this as a staccato) San Jose/Bay Area, Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon, Napa, Orlando, San Francisco, Salinas, Big Sur, and Brooklyn. Whew, anyone else tired?

But I have thought of this space often, of the people in my life, and of the adventures we all find ourselves apart of. I have also found time to invite myself into the kitchens of a few friends and have made a delicious one-pot pasta eggplant dish that I promise to share very shortly, and two of these perfect for this season plum cakes.

I am a fool for plums, always have been and I imagine I always will be. I love them in every variety. I love the taut purple, pink, yellow, and almost midnight skins. I love the ripe tartness as you break through to the sweet and supple flesh and the translucent shine of their lush interior. I love the juice when it slips between my lips and falls stickily along my chin and down my hand. And above all, I love the famous German specialty–the Plum Cake or Plum Kuchen.

On my first visit to Germany in the summer of 2008 my friends introduced me to this fantastic dessert, and I have been a bit of a repeat addict each year in late summer/early fall to bake this at least a few times. At the worst, one year I made two in one day – one to share at a friend’s house and one for myself for the week. The cake is perfect because it is neither too sweet nor does any part of it detract from the star of the show, the season’s harvest of plums!

The cake can be enjoyed as part of a brunch, after dinner with some home made whip cream (mit schlag), you might say a little vanilla ice cream would perfect it (and it probably would), or as the Germans have it around 4 in the afternoon with a cup of coffee. Whatever way you choose to bask in the simple joy of this season of gold light before the real days of fall begin, I hope you find relaxation, enjoyment, and a little bit of perfect sweetness in your life.



This recipe is an adaptation from the original recipe I found in the New York Times in 2008. I do reduce how much sugar I use to what is listed below.

Plum Cake or Plum Kuchen

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter room temperature

½ cup plus ¼ cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

½ cup sour cream

5 large plums pitted, each cut into 8 wedges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Using electric mixer beat 6 tablespoons of butter with ½ cup of sugar in a large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then extracts. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with sour cream in 2 additions. Mix until well blended and smooth. Spread batter in pan.

Arrange plum wedges on their sides in 4 long rows on top of batter. Mix ½ teaspoon cinnamon with remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over plums. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over cake.

Bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Cool until just warm or room temperature. Cut and enjoy. This cake keeps best a few days in a refrigerator.

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09 2011

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