01 August 2010

Plum Cake Disaster

So last week my house was empty for pretty much the entire week. My parents were gone, my brother was either working or transparent and for some reason I decided I would go ahead and do some extra baking. On the Wednesday I made some Blueberry muffins, and on the Friday I decided to make a plum cake. Why a plum cake? Because I had a tub of yellow plums that my Grandparents left me with, and it was either use them or let them go bad.

Normally I don't experiment too much with the recipes I attempt, for the most part I don't feel I'm at the level to start messing around with things (though it probably has more to do with the fact that I hate to waste product on something that turns out horribly).

I searched for a recipe and although I had a few plum cakes bookmarked I decided on this one from Cooking Books based on the ingredients (even though I adjusted some of them). I used a little less butter, lessened the amount of sugar and switched to brown, and added some honey and cinnamon.

Now because this was a baking whim I wasn't really prepared. And although I know better, I didn't feel like rolling out butter to bring it to temperature and then bringing out my mixer to cream the butter. This was mistake number one.

Mistake number two: crowding the pan. Don't do it, cakes don't rise, especially with fruit, just too much liquid being cooked out of the fruit.

And to top it off I forgot the salt. Not that you would notice, because when this sucker came out of the oven those plums were more sour then anything I have ever tasted. Normally when you cook fruit it brings out the sweetness, not the case with these yellow plums. So let's label that mistake number three (Note to self: next time use the plums the recipe suggests).

This wouldn't have been a problem if the cake had risen to surround the plums, but when you combine mistake number one with mistake number two you have something that rises about as much as a thin crust pizza.

Even with all of this, it was still pretty tasty, the cake on it's own was simple but delicious and had it risen properly would have been a very nice balance with the sour (or even better, sweet) plums. However, definitely use the original recipe over my mistake laden tasty cake :).

~ Adam

Plum Cake Disaster
Adapted from Cooking Books

Too many yellow plums (enough to fill pan) halved, pit removed, not peeled.
½ cup Butter (113g)
2/3 cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar (160g) **
1 egg
2 tbsp milk (I used 1%)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 3 tbsp all purpose flower (157g) ***
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt (1/8 tsp) (try not to forget :))

Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9x13” pan.

Melt butter (remember don't do this) and combine with sugar. Add egg, milk, honey, vanilla and mix well.

Spread batter evenly in the pan (it will be a very thin layer).

Add plums skin side down in rows (original recipe says skin side up, so this was probably mistake number four).

Place in oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool before serving (I couldn't wait that long :) ).

**Originally listed as 155g (or 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp)
***Originally listed as 1 cup
~ Adam (27-10-10)


  1. Oops, Adam! I've definitely done the same thing, and we all make mistakes. But if you try it again, I do want you to know that the cake isn't really going to rise much. It's an heirloom European dessert, and their cakes tend to be much thinner and denser than the lighter, fluffy cakes we're used to in the US. It is almost just like a crust. But yes, you should use sweet plumbs. Try again at the end of the summer with the small, oblong shaped Italian prune plumbs!

  2. This was my very first post I ever made and it's funny because when I check the original recipe now, I noticed that you're completely right and the cake does not rise much. Apparently despite all my attempts I didn't mess this one up as much as I thought :) .. well except for the plums of course. Thanks for the info, I always love learning something new, especially when it involves food. I'm going to have to try this one again :).