When Life Gives You Plums
Every September, recipes for plum cakes start appearing en force. We suspect that may be because so many people own plum trees. Since a single tree can yield hundreds of plums, we came up with this recipe that cooks down and reduces many plums. This renders a delicious jammy compote. Baked into a simple cake, this is perfect for a snack or back-to-school lunchbox treat.
12-15 large plums, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp brandy, optional
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9” springform cake pan. Set aside.
Combine plums, 1/2 cup sugar, bay leaf, water and brandy in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the mixture is still very chunky but coats the back of a spoon like - dare we say it - cough syrup. Stir occasionally while cooking. When done, remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine butter and 1-1/4 cups sugar. Beat until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, combining mixture in between. Add vanilla. Slowly add in flour mixture until just combined.
Scrape contents of mixing bowl into springform pan. Smooth out top with an offset spatula. Add plum mixture to top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cake has slightly pulled away from sides of pan and an inserted cake tester comes out without batter on it. Some of the plums will sink into the body of the cake. Allow to cool several minutes before removing from pan.
Plums come in different sizes, so definitely use more than 12-15 if you have tiny little French plums available for your use. In fact, it is perfectly ok to double the amount. If you have a sweet-er tooth, the more plums you use, the more topping you will have. This delicious compote also tastes great on its own!