Wednesday, August 25, 2010

dimply plum cake - homage to my fave

P8260197I'm going on record and stating that my ultimate favorite food blog is Smitten Kitchen. Deb is so eloquent and captivating, not to mention her food choices fall along the lines of my own (vegetarian generally, not too presumptuous). And only until I moved into my own 20 square foot kitchen via NYC, I fully understood her tribulations. I could even somewhat accredit her for my own ambition to start a food blog with dazzling photos and witty composition.

So when I find a recipe from my favorite-est blogger incorporating fresh seasonal fruit and a tangy spiced loaf, I make it! It also doesn't hurt that the name for it is "dimply plum cake." (Adorbz much?)

One small dilemma, I'm no fan of zested orange. In fact, I have never been much of a fan of any zested citrus. Only until recently, I have avoided this step in most recipes, just to appease my own palate. But hold on one second, it did come from Deb's site, ergo, it must be scrumptious. I think I'll give it a shot.

I can remember the smell of the cake as I carried it out of the oven- a strong sweetness of the fresh plums, wafting with orange tints and cinnamon backdrops.

As tasty as it smelt, I was hesitant to pair the bite with scent. I think I may have done something wrong. The cake part was utterly gooey and mushy, as if the plums had purposely secreted all their juices to overpower the deliciousness of the cake. I knew I shouldn't have added that darn orange zest!

Whatever mishaps happened, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was able to look past the mushiness of the cake and the thickness provided by the plums skins, and savor the overall dish. Hey, I was even able to get over my aversion to orange zest. Win!

Taken from Smitten Kitchen.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 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 (or even Italian prune plums, when they are in season), halved and pitted

1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet. (Alternately, you can use this spray to butter and flour, which is indeed my greatest baking Joy.)
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
3. Working 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 look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
4. 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–Dorie says she usually makes four rows of four plum halves each–jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.
5. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes (Dorie says 40, mine was done in 30 so check early and often), 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.

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