Our plum tree decided to go crazy on us this year. So, since I have a couple of buckets of plums laying around, I decided to make some coffee cake.
Dutch Plum Cake, to be exact!
- 1 1/8 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 1/2 cup sifted flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 T melted butter
- 12 to 16 ripe prune plums
- 1 T lemon juice
- Sweetened whipped cream
- Mix together 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Cut in butter to make fine crumbs, set aside.
- Measure 1 1/2 cups flour, sift with baking powder, salt and 6 T sugar. Add lemon rind; cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add egg an milk; stir to just moisten dry ingredients. Spread dough evenly in 8×8 greased pan. Brush with melted butter.
- Wash and dry plums, cut in half and remove pits. Press four rows of halves, skin side down, on dough; let overlap a little, but leave some space between rows. Number will depend on size of plums.
- Sprinkle with lemon juice; then with sugar-flour-butter mixture.
- Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 45 minutes. Serve warm.
Normally our plum tree gives us about a handful of plums. Last year we were excited because we got ten plums out of the little guy.
Ten. And that caused excitement.
This year we were totally thrown for a loop when we went out one day in early spring and saw scads of tiny plums up and down the tree. We figured that most of them would fall off or get eaten by our voracious and numerous squirrel population, so we didn’t have high hopes.
How wrong we were. About a week ago, ripe plums started falling on our cars and heads whenever we passed under the tree. A lot of ripe plums.
On Sunday we harvested 10 pounds of plums. Pounds! What the…how…what even happened there? I wasn’t ready for that many plums!
But since I didn’t want to look a gift plum in the mouth, I forced Tom up a ladder to harvest them all. Then I made plum jam, gave some plums away to neighbors, made this cake and then made plum-raspberry jam. And when I am done writing this, I’m off to make yet another batch of jam.
It turns out 10 pounds of plums is a lot of plums.
But I’m not complaining. Because I have delicious cake!
Although, it sort of looks like pepperoni on pizza for some reason. Am I the only one who sees that?
“Pretty good, but these plums are really sour.”
“I know, but that isn’t the cake’s fault.”
“No, that’s the tree’s fault.”
The Verdict: Very Good
From The Tasting Notes –
Very good, but not very sweet. Part of it was the fault of the sour fruit, but the other part was that the cake itself is not very sweet. It is more of a biscuit consistency than a cake. Out of the oven it was moist and soft with a good crumb, and when it cooled it was more sturdy and crumbly. This sort of tasted like a cross between a shortcake and a cobbler with a delicious sugary topping. Would be fantastic as a coffee cake, or good as a late summer dessert, maybe with some whipped cream or ice cream. Yum!
Oh, that plum-raspberry jam sounds so good! Would you please post your recipe?
When I was a teenager, we had friends with a plum tree. The fruit was too sour to use for anything. The plums didn’t even work in ice cream; we had to add so much sugar to make the mixture palatable that is screwed up the consistency, and it didn’t freeze right.
Years later, and prompted by the experience with the ice cream, I had a conversation with Steve Buchwald about the unusual chemicals present in not-quite-ripe plums. However, I can’t remember any details.
(Back when I thought anyone would care, I made a late-August plum tart for a few years. I thought it would be a nice ‘mom’s back-to-school-time tradition’.) I might try it again – this cake looks wonderful! (and Martha Stewart has a couple good recipes, too). I wonder if it would be just as good using all butter, the shortening seems to have worked out well.
I don’t care if it looks like pizza! It still looks super yummy!
Sure thing, Zerica! It actually turned out very good, which is a huge surprise because normally my jams come out all wrong. It will be up next week, hopefully! 🙂
This sounds wonderful! I have had good luck with a couple of your other cake recipes, so I am going to try this over the weekend.
My mom makes a delicious plum cake, but the cake part is more like a bread and involves yeast, letting it rise, etc etc. That is way too complicated and too time-consuming for me. The cake is thinner and rolled out into a cookie sheet. We call it plum pizza, and yes, it looks like pepperoni pizza too. She also makes one with a shredded apple topping with cinnamon and sugar on it. Delicious!!!
Bonus points to Tom for his t-shirt. One of the funniest movies ever made.
Ha! Small world. You know that Tom was in the Buchwald group for his post-doc, right? So funny.
And yes, these were sour so I could totally see where that would pose a problem with ice cream. Luckily they weren’t THAT sour, but they made making jam a challenge.
Hey Lassie! I would totally give it a try.
Butter substitution would be an interesting experiment. I was thinking about this as I was making it. There must be a specific reason why they made a base with shortening and then brushed it with melted butter. I mean, why not just make it with butter, right? Unless there is a difference in the texture of the finished product. Or maybe they just really, really liked brushing things with butter.
Thanks!!! It was pretty good. 🙂
Glad that some of the cake recipes have been successes for you! Mid-Century cakes are my kryptonite. They always look and taste so good, and I can’t make them all the time because Tom and I don’t need to eat a whole cake every week!
Your mom’s recipe sounds really, really interesting! Do you know where she got it from? Is it a family recipe?
Ha, Tom loves that shirt. I got it for him for his b-day and it came with a matching mug. He takes that mug to every meeting at work and always gets comments on it. 🙂
Yeah, I knew that Tom had worked for Buchwald. I had Buchwald and Greg Fu for organic chemistry my freshman year.
Make some plum wine!
Plums are an interesting fruit. So much depends on the variety. My favorite is santa rosa, with a dark red, almost mushy pulp. Makes a good jam, too. You do have to wait for plums to be really ripe for them to be sweet. This recipe sounds delicious.
This looks incredibly yummy–it’s such a shame I’m the only one in my family to like plums! Sure, on the surface that SOUNDS like more for me, but I wouldn’t be able to gobble it all up before it went stale. 🙁 Hmmm… I wonder where I can find some other plum afficionados…
As someone in the Netherlands I wonder why this cake is called Dutch. The cake recipe certainly doesn’t seem very Dutch, seeing as recipes here never call for shortening!
Hey Sarah –
I think the “Dutch” part of it is actually referring to the Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a cultural group in America that actually has nothing to do with the Netherlands. I think they were originally from Germany? Anyways, the Pennsylvania Dutch are known for their delicious recipes, especially baked goods like coffee cakes and pie.