Happy Friday, everyone!
It’s finally cooling down here, which means I’m starting to get that cozy fall feeling (even though I am wearing a tank top as I write–by “cool” I mean mid-eighties). The days of berries and sweet summer corn have faded, and in their place are some of my favorite fruits and vegetables of all, from stone fruits to winter squash; all are blissfully blog-worthy.
First up, plums.
I am a champion of plums because I know how opulent their flavor can be. The knowledge stems from a simple circumstance: I grew up with a plum tree in my backyard. Said tree produced exquisitely delicious fruit, the skins tart, the sweet flesh beneath, lush.
But to my family’s chagrin (most notably my mother’s), the plums came all at once (in about a 2-week period), so despite stuffing ourselves silly with fresh plums morning, noon, and night, my mother had to crank into uber-creative plum mode to use up the bounty before the gorgeous globes rotted in the grass.
Hence she made jars of plum jam by the dozen, plum cake, plum pie, plum crumble, plum clafouti, plum jell-o, plum salads (slices of fresh plum are smashing with spicy greens like arugula), even a few batches of plum chutney. In the process, she also inspired me to consider plums in a wide range of culinary uses.
I don’t have a plum tree of my own here in Texas, but I do have a simple remedy for anemic supermarket plums: send them to the oven. In a pie, in a cobbler, in a cake, or simply solo with a drizzle of honey. A quick spell in the oven transforms supermarket plums (even the rock-hard ones) to tender, sweet-tart perfection.
Here’s one of my go-to desserts: a quick plum cake that just happens to be vegan, too. Don’t worry about the yeast: there is no rising involved! Just dissolve the yeast in warm water, then add to the batter.
Trust me, this cake is love at first bite!
- 1 teaspoon dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1–1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1–1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup natural cane sugar
- 1–1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1–1/4 cups plain almond milk (or nondairy milk of choice)
- 5 tablespoons virgin coconut oil (or vegan margarine), melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 medium plums, sliced or quartered
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- Dissolve yeast in tablespoon warm water and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- Stir in the almond milk, melted coconut oil, vanilla, yeast mix and orange zest. Mix until combined (the dough should be fairly stiff).
- Spoon the batter into a 9-inch cake pan that has been greased and floured. Arrange plums atop batter. If desired, sprinkle with a bit more sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top and puffed around the plums, or until tester comes out clean.