Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dimply plum cake


Adapted, barely, from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, via Smitten Kitchen, where there are some lovely pictures of the process, and veganized by me. Google the recipe for many other examples of it online; it's blazed across the Internet like a major theme, for good reason. I've been half-consciously fixated on it ever since I saw the Smitten Kitchen post, and when I saw these beautiful plums on sale, I was done for.

The texture of this cake is superb, especially on the first day, firm in the middle and crunchy around the edges. It becomes softer overnight. The edges are so the best part that I would consider making it in muffin cups or those teeny little white crème brulee ramekins, each just big enough to hold a single plum half. Wouldn't that be adorable?

If you read Deb's post, you'll see she swapped the cardamom for cinnamon. I like cardamom, so I swapped it back, but in the end, both would be good.

Dimply Plum Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Scant 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
5 tbsp Earth Balance, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
Substitutes for 2 large eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and cardamom together.

Working with a mixer, beat the Earth Balance at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, then add whatever you're using in place of eggs. Still working on medium speed, beat in the oil, zest and vanilla; the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter, jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter (I actually had to press them in).

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes before cutting.

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