Saturday, November 22, 2014

Elenore's Plum Cake

I have been seeing lots of plums in the market lately, it must be the plum season in other parts of the world where they came from! Taking advantage whilst they are in season, I bought some with the intention to make some plum jam, and ended up eaten as they are (they are really sweet), with a few went into this lovely plum cake.

Elenore's Plum Cake recipe, is taken from "The Seasonal Baker" by John Barricelli, and this recipe belongs to his mother-in-law. It is a buttery German-style plum cake. I can see why this cake is such a hit with his family. This is my kind of cake, simple, easy, fruity and really, really nice.

Really easy cake to make, using the usual cream method for making the batter, the sliced plum wedges are arranged on top of the batter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, and bake until cake is done. There are a few changes I've made. Firstly, as usual, I've reduced the sugar by half! I've used only a scant half cup (recipes calls for 1 cup), and it is already sweet enough for us. Also I have omitted the salt as the I've used salted butter. And I've added half a teaspoon of vanilla extract, just because I feel that somehow cakes needed that vanilla touch! For the cinnamon-sugar sprinkling over the top, I've used only 1 teaspoon sugar (recipe is 2 tbsps). 

Recipe says to arrange the plum wedges skin side down, but from the photo of the book, the plums wedges looks like they are skin side up! So, I have arranged them skin-side up, which looks nicer anyway! Instead of a 8" pyrex dish, I've used the normal 8" square baking pan, lined and greased, and place the pan directly on the baking rack in the oven (recipe says to place the pyrex dish on a baking sheet, and bake). My cake was done at 45 minutes (recipe says to bake 70 to 75 minutes until done), so check your cake at the 40-45 minutes baking time!

This cake can be served warm or at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar, either way, it is good (with or without the icing sugar)! The crumbs are light, moist, soft, buttery, with soft tender plums. According to the author, "It's very nice for a weekend breakfast, an afternoon snack, or as a dessert. It's incredibly simple to make, and tastes fantastic. What else is there to say?".  He's right!

*my changes listed in blue
Elenore's Plum Cake
(adapted from "The Seasonal Baker", John Barricelli)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt (omit this as I've used salted butter)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (used salted butter, 125gm)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (scant 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1-3/4 pounds (5 to 6) large black plums, halved and pitted, each half cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (my addition)

  1. Set  the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch Pyrex baking dish. (I've used a normal 8" square cake pan, line and greased).
  2. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and salt; set aside,
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with 1 cup of the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Turn the mixer to low speed. Add the flour mixture and beat until the flour is absorbed.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Arrange a line of plum wedges along one side, skin sides down, and press gently to settle them. Arrange another line of plum wedges right next to and touching the first. Continue to use up the plums and cover the batter.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the plums. Place the cake on a baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the top is golden brown, the plums are tender and bubbling, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 70 to 75 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes. Cut into nine squares to serve warm, or let cool completely. (I placed the pan directly on the baking rack in the oven, and the cake was done at 45 minutes, so watch out for the baking time!)

Product Details
I bought this book at last year's BBW sale, and I'm so glad that I did. I really like this book and the recipes, so many I've bookmarked to try! He has authored two cookbooks, and I have them both, the other one which is his first cookbook, The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook, is just as wonderful. I'm looking forward to try out other recipes in due time! So, in the meantime, I'm sharing this post with Cookbook Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations. If you have a cookbook that you would like to share, hop over to Louise's site for more info.

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  1. I love that style of plum cake, which is characteristic of quite a few eastern European cuisines. I wish we had plums in our markets at this time of year. So glad to see you at Cookbook Wednesday!

    best... mae at

  2. HI Joyce!
    It's always such a pleasure to drop by for a piece of cake. (of course non-virtual would be the best:)

    I love the way you always adapt the recipes to your liking without compromising the integrity of the recipe. We haven't seen plums yet in our stores. We are still in Apple season, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely recipe Joyce, and sharing the Seasonal Baker with Cookbook Wednesday:)

  3. looks like a lovely cake. everytime i want to bake something with plum, i buy it, and bake something else.. looks like this recipe grasp me attention to just do it... believe my churchmates will love these

  4. This plum cake not only look pretty sounds delicious! I love eating cake with big chunks of fruit...
    Have a great weekend Joyce :)

  5. Hi Joyce, I like plums but my girl doesn't. I remembered the previous bake along plum tartlets she digged out all the plums lol.
    Your plum cake is lovely and wish I could have a slice !

  6. It looks like a perfect plum cake...very moist and soft.

  7. Nice, soft & buttery fruity cake, drooling.....

  8. Joyce, you make me feel like going out to buy plums! This cake looks lovely and though I am not really mad about plums, I am sure I would love it in this cake.

  9. Agree with you Joyce, it sure looks nicer with the skins facing up. Can show off the "colour". Looks like a lovely cake!

  10. Yes, Joyce, I do agree with you that this type of cake is wonderful as I too, like any baking which is easy, simple, fuss-free and yummy. This plum cake of yours is so delectable and tempting!!! Thanks for sharing and warmest regards :)

  11. That’s cool. I enjoyed your post a lot. I want to share that monginis provide online Christmas plum cake.