Showing posts with label plum cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label plum cake. Show all posts

Monday, September 2, 2013

Plum Silly

I've been haunting the local farmer's market a lot lately. When I see the elusive Damson or Italian plum, I always get excited. It takes me right back to childhood summers when my parents bought them by the bushel. I confess that I didn't care for all the pitting that followed and did my share of trying to weasel out of that chore. But I loved eating them!

In my new Paws and Claws Mysteries, Liesel Miller owns the Sugar Maple Inn. Born in Germany, she immigrated to America long ago. The inn reflects her European roots in everything from the food to the decor. She's fond of French country fabrics, German tortes, wrought iron railings, and a certain Austrian chef at The Blue Boar Restaurant next door. This is just the kind of cake she likes to serve at afternoon tea in the inn.

I have to confess that as I typed this, an email came through on my computer raving about Victoria Abbott's (Mary Jane Maffini's) plum cake. After banging my head against my desk for a few minutes for having forgotten that she recently posted a plum cake recipe, I rushed over to look at the recipe. It's very much like the one I just baked, except easier, with less fat and calories!

Oh well, now you have a choice. Frankly, I like the idea of the Mary Jane's eight minute cake with almost no butter. Mine has more fruit, and it does take a while to pit it. Except for that, maybe it could be an eight minute cake. One day, we'll have to do a blind tasting! So here's my version, which -- should it not contain enough fat with all the butter -- is served with sweetened whipped cream.

Damson Plum Cake

1 1/2 pounds fresh Damson plums (approximately 27-30 plums)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened (8 tablespoons)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
2-3 tablespoons milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Pit the plums, cutting them into halves lengthwise and set aside.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter with the sugar. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and the milk and beat. Pour the batter into the pan. Arrange the plum halves in circles.


Bake one hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. It should be golden brown.


Cool on a rack. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and release. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mrs. Beeton's Plum Cake

by Barbara Monajem

Originally, I was going to blog about banana cream pie, as a tie-in to novella about a vampire who owns a food fight club. Banana cream pie was one of the club specialties, and it’s one of my favorites as well. But the anthology with the novella in it was postponed, so since I write historical romances as well, I decided to go that route instead.

I’ve been messing around with old-fashioned cookbooks for a while now. I didn’t think you’d have much use for artificial asses’ milk (excellent for invalids and those otherwise lacking in –ahem– vigor) or Dr. Ratcliffe’s Restorative Pork Jelly (a lovely broth, good for making Chinese soup, but I had to buy a huge hunk of pork leg to make only half the recipe). Instead, here’s a recipe for plum cake (which contains no plums, although it probably did at some point in the distant past). I adapted this recipe from a Victorian cookbook, Beeton’s Book of Household Management, changed a few items, and baked it the Christmas before last (hence the holly in the photo).  

“A Nice Plum Cake” 

3 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. soda

½ tsp. salt

1-1/2 cups currants

1/3 cup diced candied lemon peel

1 stick butter

1-1/4 cups milk

Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out more or less clean. It’s good! There was too much batter for one loaf pan, so I made six muffins with the rest, and they were fine, too. 


 Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she's writing historical and paranormal romance for grownups. She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

Coming August 1 in all

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Say that three times fast. What? You can't even say it once? Try this. Ts-wet-sh-gen-dot-she. Hint: Zwetsch rhymes with Fletch. Has to be fun with a name like that, doesn't it? It's also known as Pflaumenkuchen, which means plum cake in German. Apparently, it's the Bavarians, known for their colorful expressions and dialect, who call it Zwetschgendatschie.

When I was growing up, this was always a huge summertime treat. It only comes around for a very brief period in late August and early September when the plums are ripe. This recipe uses the same plums that prunes come from, also known as Italian plums and damson plums. In our neck of the woods, they've become very hard to find. So when I saw them at the farmers' market, I jumped on them like a cat on a fast mouse. Mine, mine, mine!

Aside from Zwetschgendatschie, they also make great preserves and they're delicious as is, too. If you're lucky enough to have one of these trees, cherish it!

Like a lot of recipes that have been around for generations (yes, I remember eating this in my grandmother's kitchen as a little girl), Zwetschgendatschie can be made many ways, so this recipe may not be exactly like your Oma's. It can have a yeast (breadlike) bottom or a cake bottom. It can be made with oil or butter. My family always preferred the yeast bottom, though it is a bit more work.

It's sort of like making a sweet pizza with plums on top, and a dollop of whipped cream. Those yummy German/Austrian/Hungarian desserts always call for whipped cream! If you're feeling very continental, pass a bowl of whipped cream so guests can help themselves. Of course, if you're serving this at tea time, no one will notice if you slip a spoonful of that decadent whipped cream into your coffee . . .

And now -- the elusive, once a year treat that you can't pronounce --


1 packet yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons warm milk

3 + cups flour
1/3 cup warm milk
1/3 cup melted butter (microwave for 25 seconds to melt)
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 pounds washed Italian plums

Mix the yeast, sugar, and 4 tablespoons warm milk in a small bowl and let sit about 10 minutes.

I used my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook for this next part. You may need more or less flour, depending on your machine. Place two cups of flour in the bottom of the mixing bowl. Add a bit of the warm milk and all of the yeast mixture. Mix a bit. Add the butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla and mix into a dough, adding flour as needed. I used 3 cups total.

When the dough is a good consistency, turn out into a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place out of drafts. Let rise until double.

Punch the dough down and preheat the oven to 375. Slice the plums lengthwise and pit. Butter an 11 x 16 baking sheet with a rim and roll out the dough (pushing with fingers actually works best). Open the plums and prop them up in a row. Overlap the next row slightly. Continue until the baking sheet is full. Let stand at room temperature for about half an hour.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. The dough should be baked through and the plums should be producing a bit of juice.

Meanwhile mix the 3 tablespoons sugar with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. On taking it out of the oven, immediately sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Beat one cup of heavy cream, adding 1/4 cup of powdered sugar when the cream begins to take shape. Add the vanilla and beat.

Serve hot or cold, and always with whipped cream! One caveat, this is one of those dishes that is best the day it is made. It's not a make ahead dessert at all. It's fine the next day, but it really is best warm from the oven.