This recipe is definitely a keeper! This cake is moist, tender, with just the right amount of sweetness and it is delicious! It makes an 8" square cake, just the right size for my family. I like the texture of this cake. It is very moist and very tasty, perhaps from the combination of butter and oil. I think the butter makes it really yummy and the oil helps to keep it moist and tender.
I only use 5 plums instead of 8 as suggested, I couldn't fit all 8 in the pan. The arrangement will be 3 half plums in rows of three, making it a total of 9 half plums, with 9 servings. Dorie says that on day 1, the texture is slightly crumbly, on day 2 and 3, it is soft and moist. I couldn't decide which one I prefer, I love them both!
These plums are sweet and a little tart, just right.
The recipe calls for cardamom spice, but I substitute it with about 1/8 tsp of ground ginger instead, as I'm afraid that my children may not like the cardamom. I really think the ground ginger is a lovely combination to the flavour of this cake, it is not overpowering, with just a slight hint of the ginger, that the kids did not even notice! I did tweak the sugar a little. This recipe calls for 3/4 cup tightly packed, I loosen the brown sugar to make it more fluffier and then scoop into the cup to make a 3/4 cup, lightly packed, not tightly packed. It turns out just right.
I would definitely make this again, perhaps with combination of other fruits and spice, as suggested by Dorie Greenspan.
If you do not have plums, you can always substitute with other fruits, as suggested by Dorie in "Playing Around".
I'm sharing this yummy cake at :
Dimply Plum Cake
(adapted from "Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional) (I use 1/8 tsp ground ginger)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (about 160gm)
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as conala or safflower
grated zest of 1 orange
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums (in the fall, use Italian prune plums), halved and pitted
Getting Ready :
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, if you're using it, together.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, orange zest and vanilla. The batter will look very light and smooth, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter - I usually make 4 rows of 4 plum halves each - jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes - during which time the plums' juice will return to the fruit - then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.
Serving : You can serve this cake while it is still warm or wait until it reaches room temperature.
Storing : The cake can be kept well wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days, though its texture will change (not unappealingly) over this time. On day 1, the cake has somewhat firm, slightly crumbly texture - reminiscent of corn bread; on days 2 and 3, after some time under wraps, it is soft and moist. It does not freeze well.
Playing Around : This cake works well with several other kinds of fruit. Apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries are all good. If you'd like, omit the cardamom or substitute another spice. Similarly, you can trade in the orange zest for lemon, lime or even grapefruit. Here are some of my favorite combinations : apricots with orange zest and a teensy pinch of ground star anise; peaches with lemon zest and a little finely chopped fresh basil ; nectarines with orange zest ; and cherries with lime zest.
CULINARY SMACKDOWN "LET'S GET TANGY WITH CITRUS" NOVEMBER 2010
For more details and to submit your entry please click here. Remember the challenge ends on November 29th, 2010 at 12.00 noon, Malaysian time. Good luck!