Plum Cake

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I’ve been admiring this cake on Smitten Kitchen for years. Of course, I always think about it when it’s not plum season. So this year, I went to the farmers market in the height of the season. The cake, as promised, was beautiful. The plums were juicy, the cake was mildly sweet and spiced with citrus zest and cinnamon. The main problem was it took so long to cook the batter surrounding the plums, that the other outer portion overcooked. It was still a little gooey in the middle. My friend Julie loved it. She ate multiple pieces. But I’m still not sold. I wanted to share it regardless. I think it has potential.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 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 halved and pitted

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan (I had to use a round cake pan, which may be the reason I had problems), 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.

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 be smooth. 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.

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Bake for about 30 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.

I wrapped the cake and kept it at room temperature for the next couple days.

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