Saturday, August 10, 2013

Plum crazy: the eight minute cake

Submitted by Mary Jane Maffini

Many years ago, I found this wonderful little cake recipe in a magazine. I no longer even remember which one! At that point in my life I had lots to do (job, family, work travel and writing like mad in my ‘spare’ time), and not much time and this was the perfect cake for me and mine. Somehow over the years, the recipe vanished. I had various archaeological digs into my recipe files and boxes of, but no luck. I never gave up hope that I would be reunited with my plum cake and sure enough, last week, I opened a cookbook and the clipping fluttered out.  I was so excited I made four of these cakes. No trouble finding homes for them! 

Plum or rhubarb cake

2 large eggs
½ cup plus one tablespoon sugar
½ cup plus one tablespoon flour
1 – 2 tablespoons chilled butter
2 -3 ripe prune plums (or ½ cup or so chopped rhubarb)

Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat in flour (don’t overbeat)

Pour into greased 8 inch baking pan.  Arrange a layer of fruit on the top.  Top with dabs of butter.

 Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes.  In my strange relationship with my fairly new convection oven, I now bake it at 370 for 25 minutes. 


When the cake is cool, dust with icing sugar.  Serve as is or with whipping cream or ice cream.
You saved enough time to put your feet up and read a book (and eat your cake).


Mary Jane Maffini is the author of thirteen and a half mystery series.  Her fifth Charlotte Adams mystery The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder won the Romantic Times Award for Best Amateur Sleuth. You busy people will enjoy the time management tips at the beginning of each chapter.  If Charlotte Adams could cook, this would be the cake for her: fast, easy, no fuss.

Mary Jane is also one half of Victoria Abbott and  

with her daughter, Victoria Maffini, writes the book collector mysteries.

The first in the series, The Christie Curse is on the shelves now and The Sayers Swindle,  will be out in  December. You can pre-order it now. How’s that for saving time? 


Visit MJ at and  Victoria Abbott at


  1. How easy is that? And I know it's delicious.

    1. Thanks, Barb. Looking forward to your visit to MLK in September (speaking of delicious).

  2. That looks lovely, and so simple! Don't you love it when things like that (the long-lost recipe coming home again) happen? Almost like it was meant to be--or "someone" wanted you to find it again.

  3. I do love it, Sheila. It was meant to be - and I had tried about 10 different recipes for plum cakes during the decade long wait for the recipe to resurface.

    Must thank "someone"!

  4. Utter simplicity and, I'm sure, deliciousness.
    Now, if only I could find the apple cake recipe from years ago that was referred to as "Apple Ernie".

  5. Perfect time of year for plums, MJ/Victoria, and your cake is gorgeous, so easy and elegant, thanks for sharing the recipe (and the story). It's heartening when lost things are found again.

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks, Cleo! On FB Nancy suggested topping it with the coconut whipping 'cream' that you posted recently. I plan to do that.

  6. I'm going to the store and buying some plums so that they will ripen for this cake! Looks delicious!

    1. Thanks, Peg. By the way, thought you should know that your pancake has become a staple here when we have weekend guests!

  7. Wow. I love this cake, Mary Jane. It's beautiful. Right up my alley!


  8. MJ, I will chuckle all day about your "relationship" with your convection oven. I wrestle with mine all the time:)

    The cake looks amazing! xo

  9. Bought three plums today to make this. Have a friend in town coming for dinner Thursday night. I'm guessing you don't even have to peel the plums?

  10. Thanks, Krista!

    Lucy: it's a complicated relationship and I confess I still see the other oven on the side.

    Peg: No need to peel the plums. Just slice 'em!

    XO, Ladies!