Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake

Welcome to my first blog posting ever, and a big thank-you to Kristen for the invitation to guest post. Or guest blog, or whatever it's called. I hope I get this right — she told me to write the way I talk, but I'm afraid she'll be expecting a degree of brevity that I'm not sure I can deliver... there's a chance I'll ramble a bit, digress now and then. I hope you'll bear with me, and that Kristen will edit (please be gentle — it's my first time!). Kristen I are colleagues and neighbours, and have bonded a bit over bat infestations (mostly at home, but there sure are some crazies in the office too...).

I only learned about Sunday Best recently, and I've enjoyed nearly every post — except the two about a weird Rachel Ray cornbread-hotdog-and-beans casserole. Thanks to Kristen, I even have half-a-box of instant mashed potatoes in my cupboard, leftover from making some pretty fabulous basil gnocchi.

Did I mention I might digress? I'd better start talking about my own recipe pretty soon, or she'll really have to get the pruning shears out. So here we go — Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake.

It's a simple-to-make, unpretentious little coffee cake, and I promise you that everyone who tries it will love it. I got the recipe from the June 2002 issue of Bon App├ętit and have made it at least once a year since then. The recipe says you can make it with pretty much any stone fruit (plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines) or even pears, but I've always used plums.

Today, I'm making not one, but three cakes for the bake sale table at my church's Fall Rummage Sale tomorrow. A lot of people who know things about baking would tell you it's important to mix up three separate batches of batter when you're making three separate cakes, but I'm a little pressed for time tonight so I'm throwing caution to the wind (come on, I throw like a girl — it's not like it's going to go anywhere) and just tripling the recipe. Here's what one cake's worth of ingredients looks like:

The cake base has a very thick batter, almost like cookie dough, because the sliced plums you put on top of the batter will let out all kinds of juice while they bake, and if your batter was thinner it'd never cook through.

The recipe says to use a 9" springform pan for each cake. I don't have one 9" springform let alone three, (I had one, but lent it out years ago and never saw it again) so I used my trusty 8" round cake pans, lined with parchment on the bottom. The cakes flip out pretty easily about 20 minutes after they come out of the oven — you just have to be a little gentle with them to avoid wrecking the cinnamony-sugary crust on top. One other thing: the recipe also calls for five large plums per cake, but I've never been able to fit more than 2 or 3 plums on top of a cake.

I also think that more plums would release more juice, requiring more time to bake.

It couldn't be simpler: you mix the batter, spread it out in the pan, top it with sliced plums and then a generous sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar, wait 45-50 minutes and voila! Easy-peasy lemon squeezy, Cinnamon-Sugar Plum Cake.

Lovely on its own or with a little lightly-sweetened whipped cream on the side.




susan said...

OMG Char - my pie stomach misses you and your yummy cooking so much!

Mary said...

I bought one of Char's plum cakes at the church bake sale & it was absolutely delicious! The whole cake was devoured in just two days!! Could have been one but we thought some restraint was in order, after all!