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Spiced Plum Cake

March 1, 2009
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plum-spice-cakeNow when it comes to dessert, I am very picky. I like chocolate but it’s not my- be all end all fix and definitely not my first choice. I love pastries and cakes but European style. What I mean by that is I am not a big fan of icing… especially the kind you see on cakes and cup cakes in the super markets here. I am not really sure what is in that icing!!! For all I know, it could be lots of high fructose corn syrup and all sorts of stabilizers or even some ingredients that are unrecognizable! European cakes and pastries tend to be covered with either whipped cream, chocolate ganache or sometimes with powdered sugar- essentially all the ingredients I love and can recognize! My favorite pastries and cakes definitely include fruit! I love strawberries, raspberries- any thing that adds the tart element to a dessert- the sweet and tart compliment each other very well and makes the dessert less sweet. I also love pound cakes. I prefer the homemade ones- they tend to have more body and flavor to them. If I could, my breakfast everyday would be, a thick slice of pound cake (preferable an end slice) with a big cup of coffee! Unfortunately being health conscious does not allow me to do it! I love the firmness and body of a pound cake- I still remember a particular one I used to eat in India!
My friend gave me plums the other day. I am not used to buying plums in the winter- I grew up eating fruits and vegetables in season. I really didn’t know what to do with them… I had a few thoughts- maybe some plum chutney for a pork roast or loin. Then, I ran into a plum cake recipe- it resembled a pound cake but with fruit- perfect combination, I thought! I decided to modify it to my taste that included adding ground cardamom and lemon zest- (If you don’t want a very strong flavor, eliminate the cardamom). I also used white whole-wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. It doesn’t have too much butter and I also substituted canola oil with extra light olive oil. Extra light olive oil doesn’t have the nutty flavor of the extra virgin olive oil, so it is great to use in baking to get the healthy qualities of olive oil. Overall I felt very good about the recipe and it came out delicious. It’s great with a cup of tea, coffee or served  warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

  • 1½ cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup extra light olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4-5 purple or red plums, halved and pitted
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and ground ginger. In a stand mixer cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. The batter will resemble cookie dough. Transfer the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrange the plums on top skin side up. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool and sprinkle powdered sugar before serving.

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