I could not wait to get started on this week's recipe for Dimply Plum Cake, chosen by Michelle of Bake-en. As you all know, we've been on quite the cookie streak here at TWD, and nothing screams "not a cookie" quite like a dimply plum cake.
While Dorie lists several other fruit options to use with this cake instead of plums, I knew right away that I was plumming it. Growing up, my mother bought plums all the time in the summer. Peaches and plums shared the top status as Favored Summer Fruit in the "Fruits with Pits" category (not be be confused with the "Fruits with Seeds" or the "Berries," all of which were also much-loved by us in those sweet June through August months). But somewhere along the way, I forgot about plums. It's not like anything "happened," we just kind of drifted apart. It was me, not the plums. So when I saw that Dimply Plum Cake was chosen for this week, I knew that this was the chance for me and plums to be right again.
And so what did I go and do when it came time to choose the plums? I let my three year old, who loves picking out the produce, choose ten plums and drop them in the bag, without giving them so much as one discreet little squeeze before she let go. What was I thinking? How could I give a three year old complete control over something as important to my plum cake as the plum selection process? I guess I was distracted by the sample of Allouette on Sociables with Peach Preserves that they handed me on the way into the store. Oh, did I ever pay the piper for that little mistake.
As soon as I got home I realized that my plums were overripe. Way overripe. Not quite rotten, but most definitely well past their plummy best. But I decided to make the cake anyway, thinking that the plums would get all soft when baked anyway, and maybe overripe plums would be to dimply plum cake what overripe bananas are to banana bread.
I prepped the plums, and then got to work on mixing the dry ingredients, including flour, brand-spanking-new baking powder, salt and cardamom. Once my dry ingredients were mixed, I thought about driving straight to the bank to put the cardamom in my safe deposit box, because at $14.99 for a tiny 1.9 ounce jar, I knew that it had to be very special, and I didn't want to just leave it hanging around the kitchen, being taught dirty words by the other spices.
The world's most expensive scant 1/4 teaspoon:
I mixed it all together, poured the batter into the pan and assembled the plums on top, and then thought what I think every week: this doesn't look nearly as good as Dorie's.
The cake smelled great baking, and looked pretty good when it came out of the oven. I thought it was sufficiently "dimply."
My secret ingredient: plum label.
Ooops! Rookie mistake. Glad that was my piece! It reminds me of that time in high school when I baked fortune cookies for the International Food Fair, and then asked Senor Pelosi, my Spanish teacher, what his fortune was, and he said "THERE WAS A FORTUNE IN THERE???" I think I got a B in Spanish that semester.
The cake was okay, notwithstanding the mediocre plums. David thought that it had a slightly bitter aftertaste, and I could see what he meant -- I'm not sure if that was the rotten, er, overripe plums, or some flavor in the batter (probably the cardamom). We served it to my parents, and they seemed to like it fine. It didn't make anyone do backflips or anything, but that's probably for the best, because we don't need any injuries over Sunday dinner. I probably won't make this again, just because Dorie has a zillion other coffee cakes in her book, and I assume I'll like another one better. I do feel like I am a little further down the road to reconciliation with the plums, so making this was definitely a positive exercise anyway.
6 months ago