Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TWD Dimply Plum Cake

Posted by BAKE-EN at 1:59 PM


It was my turn to choose this week's TWD recipe. Exciting? Yes. Difficult? You bet! There are so many fantastic recipes in this book, it was nearly impossible to choose one recipe. I decided on the plum cake because I love plums and cardamom is one of my favorite spices. Also, I've been very busy with work and travel lately, so I decided it would be safe to choose an easy recipe that I could throw together quickly.

Wow, I'm so thankful I choose such an easy recipe. In addition to working 14 hour days at the bakery; last week I went to a Star Chef conference in NYC for two days, and then Joe and I went to NYC again Sunday returning late last night. Both trips were great. I hope to post about the conference sometime today, it was amazing. Yesterday we had a nice lunch at David Burke and Donatella, and afterwards I shopped around while Joe went to an appointment. We got home late last night, and skipped dinner because we were still stuffed from lunch.

Back to the plum cake. First off, I decided to halve the recipe. Both Joe and I have been consuming copious amounts of baked goods since Sofra opened, so I decided we didn't exactly "need" 8 servings of this cake! I baked the cake in a 6" round cake pan, which worked out perfectly. I think the cake may have been slightly shorter than Dorie's, but I wanted to fit more plums on top of the cake and I knew my 4" pan would only hold about 5 plum halves. The recipe was easy to make. Cream butter and sugar, add egg(s), add oil, zest, and vanilla; and finally add dry ingredients till just incorporated.



I scraped the batter into my cake pan, leveled it out a bit, and then topped it with 7 plum halves (I couldn't squeeze the last one in).


My bake time was surprisingly longer than Dorie suggested. I baked the cake for just over 45 minutes at 350.

When the cake came out of the oven, I was slightly disappointed with how dry the plums looked.


I decided to beautify it by making a plum cardamom glaze. What I did was I cut a plum up into small pieces and put it in a pan with some sugar, once the sugar started to melt, I added two fresh cardamom seeds and a little bit of brandy.


I left the skin on the plums because I love the color that plum skin leaches while cooking. Next I went to the dining room to pay bills. Having forgotten about my plum glaze, I came back to a nicely caramelized plum glaze (phew)! I wish every time I forgot about something on the stovetop that would happen! I added a little bit of water to thin out my glaze and topped the cake with it.

Appearance wise, I think the glaze made this a really beautiful cake.









It's the kind of cake I would want to buy at a bakery based on appearance. I swear my pictures don't even come close to showing just how pretty this cake was. Overall though, I wasn't blown away by the cake itself. I have a feeling it's because my plums weren't that great. There were hundreds of purple plums at the grocery store, but they were all rock hard. I chose the ripest of the lot, but that's not saying much. I will certainly make this cake again when I can find some beautiful plums. I have a feeling that will make a huge difference in the overall flavor of the cake. Also, I'm interested to see what this cake tastes like tomorrow. Dorie says that the first day the cake is like corn bread and the 2nd and 3rd days it's soft and moist. Perhaps I'll fall in love with it tomorrow.

Just a side note. If you have David Lebovitz's book Ripe for Dessert try his recipe for a yeasted plum tart with red wine-plum sauce. It's a fantastic plum recipe. Also, today I plan on catching up on some posts. Check out my posts on both Sofra and the Star Chefs Conference.

Here's the recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: from my home to yours

Dimply Plum Cake (page 41)

1 ½ C AP Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

¼ tsp salt

Scant ¼ tsp ground cardamom (optional)

5 Tbsp Unsalted butter, room temp

¾ C Packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 C flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

8 purple of red plums (in the fall, use Italian prune plums), halved and pitted

Getting Ready: center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degress 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 cardamom, if you're using it, together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a mixture after each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, orange zest and vanilla. The batter will look very light and smooth, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only till they're 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-I usually make 4 rows of 4 plum halves each-jiggling the plums a tad 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-during which time the plums' juice will return to the fruit-then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

37 comments on "TWD Dimply Plum Cake"

Lori on September 23, 2008 at 3:04 PM said...

Wow, it's amazing how much that glaze transformed the appearance! I'll bet it added a nice oomph to the cake, too. The texture is better the 2nd day.

Jen on September 23, 2008 at 3:14 PM said...

Great idea w/ the glaze! I really didn't like how dry mine looked at the end. Thanks for the good choice of cake!

Flourchild on September 23, 2008 at 4:39 PM said...

Thank you for such a great selection. I really loved this cake. I think yours is the prettiest one I have seen all day! I absolutley LOVE that glaze..perfect! I thought the cake was much better days later...very moist!

Payal Shah on September 23, 2008 at 4:48 PM said...

Looks mouthwateringly good!

Di on September 23, 2008 at 4:50 PM said...

I'll have to add your glaze to the list of great ideas I've seen today. =) I had problems with the recipe, but I really enjoyed the taste of the cake and I'll be trying it again so I can get it right. Thanks for a great pick.

bakingwiththeboys on September 23, 2008 at 4:53 PM said...

That glaze is gorgeous. You really outdid yourself.

Fit Chick on September 23, 2008 at 5:04 PM said...

Beautiful presentation and the glaze really makes the cake!

Pamela on September 23, 2008 at 5:17 PM said...

Thank you, Michelle for such a nice recipe choice! It's definitely one I wouldn't have given a second look if it weren't for TWD! And I don't think I've seen a prettier, more inviting cake than yours.

n.o.e on September 23, 2008 at 5:24 PM said...

That glaze takes the cake to the next level. I just got home from the store, where I purchased cardamom seeds. Now I know one way to use them! Cardamom is my new friend. Love the beauty of your cake - let us know how you liked it after a day or two.
Nancy

Tracey on September 23, 2008 at 5:36 PM said...

Thanks for the pick this week! It took me outside my comfort zone and I really enjoyed it.

Your cake looks great! Love the glaze idea!

PheMom on September 23, 2008 at 6:13 PM said...

Look at you with your seriously tempting glaze! Yum! I did like the cake, just not the plums in their big pieces - that's just me though. I think it was a great pick! Thanks!

ITP Foodie/Joh103 on September 23, 2008 at 6:46 PM said...

Great idea with the glaze! Thanks so much for picking this- I can't wait to make it over and over again!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy on September 23, 2008 at 7:06 PM said...

Your cake looks beautiful! I love the glaze idea! It really makes the cake pop! Thanks for choosing such a great recipe!

karen on September 23, 2008 at 8:00 PM said...

great choice for this week. the glaze is a great idea, it really makes it look nice. :)

steph- whisk/spoon on September 23, 2008 at 8:42 PM said...

good work on the glaze--looks sticky and delicious. thanks for the pick!

Engineer Baker on September 23, 2008 at 8:58 PM said...

Awesome pick, and I love the glaze idea - too yummy.

Liliana on September 23, 2008 at 9:02 PM said...

What a great idea to make the glaze! Also great recipe choice.

Your cake looks delicious!

Kimberly Johnson on September 23, 2008 at 9:36 PM said...

Your cake looks so beautiful with the glaze! Thanks for picking this great recipe. I never would have tried it otherwise!

SiHaN on September 23, 2008 at 9:38 PM said...

wow.. that glaze sure did work wonders. Its like one of those make=over shows. Good thinking there!

Rachel on September 23, 2008 at 10:31 PM said...

Beautiful cake! Mine was a disaster but I'm going to attempt it again. Thanks for a fun pick!
--Rachel
--www.tangerine-tart.blogspot.com

The Food Librarian on September 23, 2008 at 10:48 PM said...

Great pick! It took me two tries, but I got it and my family liked it a lot!

Annette on September 23, 2008 at 10:52 PM said...

Thanks for a great selection! The plum glaze was a fantastic idea. I used Italian prune plums and they were nice and moist when the cake was done baking. I hope you like yours better tomorrow. It looks gorgeous and delicious!

Shandy on September 23, 2008 at 11:11 PM said...

The glaze on your cake is absolutely beautiful! Definitely bakery perfect. Thank you for choosing this recipe. =)

Mary Ann on September 23, 2008 at 11:22 PM said...

That glaze sounds heavenly! I am so glad you picked this recipe because it gave me a great excuse to make it again! It looks beautiful!

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu on September 24, 2008 at 2:19 AM said...

thanks for choosing this recipe. I love what you did with the glaze. now if only I could be that creative. the cake ended up being gorgeous!

confectiona on September 24, 2008 at 8:58 AM said...

Oh, that's gorgeous. I never thought of glazing the cake -- it made such a difference! Ours tasted pretty good, but looks-wise it was no great shakes. We ate it on the second day. Thanks for choosing this recipe!

Lydia on September 24, 2008 at 11:15 AM said...

I have to make this one!

kim on September 24, 2008 at 11:48 AM said...

glaze = brilliant! it looks so good. i loved this cake, thanks for the pick :)

susan on September 24, 2008 at 6:31 PM said...

if your pictures don't even come close to showing just how pretty that cake is, then your cake must have been GORGEOUS in real life :)

LyB on September 24, 2008 at 9:07 PM said...

I looooved this cake! Loved it! Thanks so much for choosing that recipe. :)

Erin said...

Your cake looks great! Thanks for such a great pick this week. I really enjoyed it!

Carla on September 24, 2008 at 11:30 PM said...

I probably wouldn't have chosen this cake if you hadn't, so thanks for a great cake! Mine didn't come out dry. Maybe because you cut it in half? Or perhaps my plums were too juicy.

mangomissives on September 25, 2008 at 9:03 PM said...

Thank you for the selection! I love your idea of the glaze.. your cake looks beautiful. I too didn't like how dried the top of the plums looked after baking.

Jess on September 26, 2008 at 2:26 PM said...

Thanks for picking this one...a fruity fall dessert was just what I needed. The glaze is gorgeous.

Barbara on September 27, 2008 at 3:07 AM said...

Love your glaze idea! I wish I had thought of that, my cake was kind of dry.

Jaime on September 30, 2008 at 1:14 AM said...

your glaze is beautiful on that cake! it's funny - after i showed my brother the pics of my cake he said to me - you should have glazed the cake w/something to make it shiny so you could have better photos for your blog! of course he said this to me after the cake was all sliced up and eaten! :P

Teanna on September 30, 2008 at 10:22 AM said...

That glaze seriously made that look professional! I would DEFINITELY buy that in a store if I saw it!

 

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