I made this cake a couple of weeks ago when we were having a streak of rainstorms just about every day. It seemed so perfect and comforting to serve on cool rainy evenings.
When I was in the grocery store I eyed a bin of local plums called elephant heart plums. They looked like little jewels, crimson and juicy, so I knew I had to showcase them in a recipe. I thought it would be best to balance their tartness against a sweeter and lighter cake.
I especially love the recipe in Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe, which is a very French inspired cake baked in a tart pan, drizzled with creme fraiche and served with a cup of dark hot chocolate.
Plum-Studded Morning Cake (GF)
Makes one 10-inch cake (6-8 servings)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon Artisan GF flour blend (see raspberry scone post)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
10 or so very small ripe plums or 5 medium sized
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Creme Fraiche for serving (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray the bottom of a 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium to large bowl, beat the butter for several minutes with an electric mixer at high speed. Add 2/3 cup of the sugar and beat for several minutes longer. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, and then beat in the vanilla.
3. In a second bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour blend with the salt and baking powder, slowly mixing them together with a whisk.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 2 installments, alternating with the milk (dry-wet-dry). After each addition, use a spoon or rubber spatula to stir from the bottom of the bowl just enough to blend. Don't overmix.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly into place. Let it rest while you prepare the topping.
6. Halve the plums and remove the pits. Place the plums in a small bowl, add the lemon juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and toss to distribute. Then sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon flour and toss again until the plum pieces are fairly evenly coated. Arrange them on top of the batter in the pattern of your choice.
7. Put the pan on a baking tray, and place it in the middle of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden and springy to the touch. Cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the rim of the pan. Without removing it from the bottom of the pan, place the cake on a serving plate and cool for another 10 minutes or so before slicing.
8. Serve warm or at room temperature, with creme fraiche.
Recipe adapted from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe