Hey guys, can't believe that it's the fourth in the Famous Fridays series already! In case you don't know, Friday is a day I celebrate famous cooks around here and this week's honoree is truly deserving of the attention. Dorie is Dorie Greenspan, who has written 10 cookbooks, is a two time winner of the James Beard Foundation Award and an all-around awesome baker and cook! Her Dimply Plum Cake tastes just as amazing as it looks and I know that it will be one of those cakes you turn to again and again.
Dimply Plum Cake is from Dorie's amazing cookbook, Baking, From My Home to Yours. It's filled with wonderful recipes for all sorts of desserts from the trendy and new to old-fashioned tried and true favorites. I really love this cookbook--the pictures, descriptions of the recipes and the "Playing Around" sidebar where Dorie tells you how you can try different techniques or ingredients within the context of one recipe. If you like to bake and don't have it, I would highly recommend buying this book.
Now back to this cake, which is sort of like a coffeecake but with the addition of juicy plums, brown sugar and orange zest, is transformed into something really memorable. It is quite easy to make, but looks kind of impressive because of the way the batter cooks up and sort of "dimples" around the plums (at least I was rather impressed with myself, humble girl that I am!)
I did make one significant change to Dorie's recipe, though. She calls for cardamom and because I just really don't like that spice at all, subbed in cinnamon, which I thought tasted great. The other change, I didn't do this time, but would in the future, is to use grated lemon zest rather than the orange, which I found to be a little overpowering.
After you put together a simple batter and smooth it into a baking pan, the real fun begins. That's when you get to arrange the plums, cut side up, onto the batter. I don't know about you, but there's something so satisfying and artsy about this--makes me feel like a pro!
Dorie says she usually makes four rows of four for a total of 16 halves, but my plums must have been bigger than hers, because I could only fit three rows of three, with my fourth row only able to handle plum quarters. But no matter, it was still delicious. One of my kids has now proclaimed this his favorite dessert and is begging me to make it again. I'll have to hurry out and get some more plums while they're still in season.
The cake is delicious on its own, but would also be great with a little sweetened whipped cream or maybe even vanilla ice cream. I dusted it with a little powdered sugar to make it look even a little more festive.
Thank you Dorie, for this and for so many other wonderful recipes!
Dorie's Dimply Plum Cake-Famous Fridays
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: 40 minutes (mine was closer to 55 minutes)
Total Time: About 1 hour
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Scant 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil ( I used canola)
- Grated zest 1 orange or lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted (you can use prune plums too if you can find them)
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350ºF. Butter and flour an 8x8 inch square baking pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed till soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about a minute between each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, orange or lemon zest, and vanilla. The batter will look almost satiny smooth. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until they are incorporated.
4. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that all the flour is truly mixed in and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter, trying to make a 4 rows of 4 or in any combination you can fit. Gently push the plums down just a little bit into the batter.
5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake batter comes out clean. I had to bake mine for 55 minutes so check carefully and do not underbake or it will be gummy.
6. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen it. Using another rack, flip the cake over and remove the pan and then turn the cake right side up to cool completely. I dusted it with powdered sugar right before serving.
7. The cake keeps wrapped at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for about a week.