Thursday, August 18, 2011

Amazing Plum Cake

Here in Boston we are blessed with a multitude of Farmers Markets. There is literally one every day of the week, within a reasonable distance. At this time in the season, there are copious amounts of lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and peaches at the markts. And they are all great. But the farm good that has caught my eye (mouth?) this summer are these little plums. I have bought them now from several markets around the city, from several different farms, week after week. I started with the most yellow and orange little guys, and then worked my way towards the more traditional purple ones, and then back to yellow again.

My first reaction upon seeing these plums for the first time was that they needed to be photographed, and then promptly baked into something. They were so pretty and little, and I knew they could be made into something special. Lucky for me (and for them), I found just the thing.

The simplicity and elegance of this cake echos that of the plums. It seems easy, and it is. The creation of the batter is so easy, in fact, that what makes the finished product so amazing is the inherent beauty of the fruit you use. It seems as if the ubiquitous Dorie Greenspan, who created this recipe, rather than setting out to create a cake with plums in it, sought to create a perfect seat from which the plums could shine. It's taste was homey but elevated, and it looked like that, too.
The biggest tragedy for me, then, was the fact that I could not get a picture that showed how truly beautiful the cake actually was. I took pictures, obviously, but they don't do it justice. I couldn't quite get a photo that showed how there was a little bit of juice on top of some of the plums, or the full range of color that was actually there. I wish I had had more time to marvel at the thing and take more pictures, but I was actually in a bit of a rush. I regret that I couldn't get more pictures, and that I am not an amazing photographer yet, but thankfully I'll be making this again, soon. And so should you.

I made a few changes to the recipe, but if I could have, I would have followed the recipe exactly. Therefore, I'm sending you to Serious Eats so you can get the exact directions from Dorie's post. However, just so you know, the changes I made to the cake are as follows: I used nutmeg rather than cardamom, and half a lemon's zest rather than an orange because that's what I had on hand. In addition, I think I over baked the cake slightly because I inserted my tester to close to the soft plums, making me think the batter was not set when it actually was, so watch out for that. Now go check it out!

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