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Plum Coffee Tested Cake

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Plum Coffee Cake Recipe

Italian Prune Plums look so pretty sitting on top of this Plum Coffee Cake. You may think that plums, cut in half, would dry out during baking but the opposite is true. Heat causes the plums to soften and their juices to be released, so by the end of the baking time they have become wonderfully soft and jam-like with nicely caramelized edges. And the cake. This cake is deliciously moist and flavorful, and no electric mixer is needed to make the batter. The ingredients are simply stirred together in a bowl, similar to how you make a muffin batter. The cake contains both all-purpose flour and ground almonds, which adds a nice flavor and a grainy texture. There is also no butter in this recipe, instead a combination of oil, yogurt, and orange juice are used which results in a moist and dense textured cake.

There are many varieties of plums in the world. Some are good for eating fresh while others come into their own when used to make jams or in sweet and savory dishes. The Italian Prune Plum is the plum I use the most in baking. It is fairly small in size with a oval or egg shape. Its thin skin is smooth with a pretty blue, almost purplish color that is covered with a slivery grey bloom. Once you cut into its yellowy green dense flesh you will find it tastes sweet, with a hint of tanginess. Brian Glover in his book "Fruit" tells us how to cut plums. First, with a sharp knife, cut the plum in half by following the natural crease in the plum's skin. Then, holding one half of the plum, gently twist the other half. The plum should easily fall into two halves so the pit can be removed.

As I mentioned above, this cake contains ground almonds. You can either buy almond meal/flour or else you can make your own by placing whole or sliced almonds in your food processor and processing them until finely ground. Almond meal/flour can be found at some grocery stores or else in specialty food stores or health food stores. You can also order it through the Baker's Catalogue (www.bakerscatalogue.com or 1-800-827-6836).

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Plum Coffee Cake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour one - 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan. (Alternatively spray pan with non stick vegetable/flour spray.) Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir or whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.

In another large bowl, stir or whisk together the oil, yogurt, orange juice and zest, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in the sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and evenly arrange the halved plums on top of the batter, flesh side facing up. Sprinkle with the 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar.

Bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 45 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes one - 8 inch (20 cm) cake.

References:

Greenspan, Dorie. 'Baking From My Home to Yours'. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York: 2006.

Kiros, Tessa. 'Twelve'. Whitecap Books. North Vancouver: 2005.

Olson, Anna & Olson, Michael. 'Cook at Home'. Whitecap Books. North Vancouver: 2006. 

Plum Coffee Cake:

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 cup (30 grams) ground almonds

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (120 ml) flavorless oil (safflower, corn, or canola)

1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk plain yogurt

1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice

1 tablespoon orange zest (the outer orange skin (rind) of the orange)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

7 - 8 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted (can also use 4 - 5 red plums)

Garnish:

2 tablespoons (30 grams) coarse brown sugar (I like to use Turbinado or Demerara sugar)

 
 
     
 

 

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