Dimply Plum Cake

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This is a wonderful coffee cake–sturdy, comes together quickly, and absolutely perfect for this time of year. It would also work with several other kinds of fruit, including apricots, peaches, nectarines or even cherries. You can swap the orange zest for lemon, lime or even grapefruit and the spice too.

You can use cinnamon instead of the same amount of cardamom because some people just don’t like cardamom. You can use any plum variety for this cake. This is one of those cakes that gets better with time, you can keep this one for 4 days and it was lovely and moist till the very last slice.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums (or even Italian prune plums, when they are in season), halved and pitted

plum-cake

Preparation:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.

Working with a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Still working on medium speed, 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 incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter.

Bake for about 30 to 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 during which time the plums juices will seep back into the cake then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, dust with powdered sugar. (It soaks into the plums, but keeps the cake a speckly white.)

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.