I love cake. I won’t say any kind of cake, but most kinds of cake. And I am always mesmerized and drawn to tall, soft, one-layer cakes. This week we have a recipe for a simple and delicious plum cake by Cerentha Harris, journalist and editor of the Herman Miller Lifework blog. Cerentha’s first recipe for sausage rolls was a hit, and I hope you love this cake as much as you liked the sausage rolls. If you aren’t in an area with plums, Cerentha suggests trying pears. I’m betting that even apples would work for this. Let us know what you try! — Kristina
About Cerentha: Cerentha Harris is an Australian journalist and editor of Herman Miller’s Lifework blog. She indulges her passion for design and architecture (and food) at this is a design blog and at Because Sometimes I Forget. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children and a very energetic puppy.
The full post continues after the jump…
- 10–12 medium-sized plums (sounds like a lot, but they cook down)
- 11 tablespoons (150g) butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup (150g) sugar plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top of the cake
- 2 cups (250g) plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup (120ml) milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease an 8″ (20cm) pan with a removable bottom and then line with parchment paper. Greasing helps the paper stick.
2. Wash the plums, cut them into halves and remove the pits.
3. Whip the eggs in a bowl with the vanilla and the 3/4 cup of sugar until they are pale and fluffy. Add the flour and baking powder and mix. Whisk in the melted butter and the milk. You can do this all in a stand mixer — just don’t overmix it.
4. Put half the plums on the bottom of the pan in a nice ring, skin side down — just use as many as you need to cover the bottom — but not too tightly, as you want the cake batter to get between them and form the base of the cake.
5. Scoop all the batter on top of the plums. You can dump the rest of the plums on top of the batter, or you can arrange them neatly in slices — it’s up to you. Some will sink into the batter, but most will stay near the top and be visible once it has cooked. The plums shrink a lot, so it’s okay to err on the side of more rather than less on top.
6. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the sugar. This gives the top a yummy, crispy quality.
7. Place the cake tin on a baking sheet and then put it in the oven. Bake for an hour or until it’s a lovely golden color and a skewer comes out clean. The plums will also have caramelised a bit.
8. Take it out of the oven but let it cool for a few minutes in the tin before you remove it, and be careful of any syrupy liquid that may have formed.
I serve it with whipped cream, but the kids like it with ice cream.
Photography by Kristina Gill. Wooden tray is vintage Swedish; butter dish and bread plate (milk and plum) by mud australia; cake plates by Sabine Csampai; linen napkin and milk glass from merci; sugar dish by Christiane Perrochon
Why Cerentha Loves This Recipe
Despite initial skepticism about my baking skills from a friend of mine who teaches baking for a living, this plum cake is famous on my street and has won me a reputation as an amazing baker. It is a dessert I make as soon as plums come into season. It’s simple and delicious and impressive. And you can’t really ask for much more from a dessert. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of plums. They cook down and shrink during baking, and the cake rises in a lovely vanilla mass around them. You are creating the perfect fall dinner party dessert. I promise it will impress your neighbours — and maybe even your friends who teach baking for a living!