dimply plum cake

September 14, 2010 § 11 Comments

I can’t really get behind the saying that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve spent hours wandering bookstores, mired in indecision, and the only thing that finally jolts me out of it is getting distracted by a pretty cover, and then just buying that one out of desperation. How should I know if it’s a good book until I’ve read it? Isn’t this what covers are for?

By the same token, my ever-wandering attention was captured by this recipe mainly because of the name: Dimply plum cake! Charming, no? And with legions of Dorie Greenspan fans having already given it a test run for me, I knew it was worth trying. My first attempt was unfortunately in a temperamental oven that left the insides gloopy and the outsides burnt. But it looked so promising, with silky batter studded with gorgeous plums, that I finally gave it a second chance when I was back home.

And I was glad I did, because it was a success. It’s a simple, orange-scented cake with a sturdy crumb, which is definitely needed to hold up the plums and their delicious juices. Even though I used a bigger pan than was called for, I couldn’t fit in more than two-thirds of the plums, but I put this down to me having mutant monster plums rather than any fault of the recipe. The cake isn’t too sweet and I suspect it would be great for breakfast as well as dessert, but I can’t actually tell you, because mine was all gone before it even had the chance to cool.


Dimply Plum Cake – from Dorie Greenspan

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup light brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or sunflower
    Grated zest of 1 orange
    1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (I actually used a 9-inch and still couldn’t fit all the plums).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.

In another bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each egg. Beat in the oil, zest and vanilla – the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are just incorporated, no longer.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter – Dorie usually makes four rows of four plum halves each, I managed this once but the second time I could only fit three – and jiggle the plums a bit just so they settle comfortably into the batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up. Once fully cool, you can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.


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§ 11 Responses to dimply plum cake

  • Xavier says:

    Yum! Might I suggest a hexagonal packing for a plummier dessert?
    From your bro.

  • Xavier says:

    Also, you should make a tarte tatin. I had a peach/pear one this morning and I swear it was the best thing I’ve ever had (peaches are tasty now).

    Then give me a slice.

  • Laura says:

    allrighty, I will get to work on a hexagonally packed tarte tatin. But if you want a slice you’ll have to come get it.

    did they peel the peaches? I hate doing that.

  • Maggie says:

    This looks absolutely divine. I have some plums and pluots ripening on my kitchen counter. They may find themselves nestled into this delicious cake.

  • Jess says:

    I have to admit to a pretty cover (and pictures inside) having a significant influence over whether I buy a cookbook or not, alas. But food photography for cookbooks these days is of a pretty high standard and I usually like the aesthetic and the styling, so I don’t feel like I’m really limited in the books I buy. Like the Cupcakes book from the Indulgence series of recipe books – http://tinyurl.com/2chqck5 – which I bought because the cover and inside photos are amazing, and the recipes turned out to be just as good. Win-win!

    I’m waiting patiently for stone-fruit to finally come into season here so that I can make all these fantastic recipes I’ve been seeing. Sigh. Summer needs to hurry up.

  • Stunning! I’ve made a similar cake myself, and absolutely loved it 🙂

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