I’ve been saving this plum cake recipe for just the right time. I put my finger up to the breeze this morning and we’re here – we’ve reached peak In Between.
In Between is that time between summer and fall when I, for one, am changing out my scented candles from fresh and floral and pie and spice. This is when we as a people wrestle with our love of pumpkin spice everything. The reality is that it’s still a thick 90 degrees this week never nenveryoumind about the actual temperature. The calendar say’s it’s time to bake and so we will.
The official dessert of the In Between is this tender pound cake baked with the last of summer’s plums and swirled with tart lemon curd. It is the perfect snacking cake but also impressive enough to flex at a dinner party. Speaking of – it’s totally dinner party season, isn’t it?
Let’s get together! Over cake, of course.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this fresh plum cake recipe:
• all-purpose flour
• baking soda and baking powder
• ground coriander (or cinnamon or fresh nutmeg if you don’t have coriander)
• kosher salt
• unsalted butter
• granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• vanilla extract
• sour cream
• ripe purple plums though a case can be made for fresh apricots or fresh peaches, quartered
• store-bought lemon curd (or lemon juice and lemon zest in a pinch)
• lightly sweetened soft whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for topping
We’ll start by whisking together the flour mixture. I know this feels like an extra step and *shrug*, do we really have to? Well, no – but sifting together the dry ingredients is a good idea because it evenly combines the leavening, spice, and salt with the flour before they’re added to the wet ingredients. The more evenly combined the more evenly our cake will bake. Baking is just a series of good ideas starting here.
We add coriander to this recipe much like the Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins I made a few weeks back in the deep heat of summer. Coriander adds such a bright warmth to cakes with fruit. It’s brighter and less expected than cinnamon or nutmeg though either of the two will do in a pinch.
In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer (this is my favorite), cream together room temperature butter with sugar until pale and fluffy. We’re incorporating ingredients, yes – but we’re also aerating the fat in this cake to encourage a light and tender crumb.
Beat the eggs in, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition. More air. Fluffier cake.
The star of this cake crumb – the secret weapon, the hero: SOUR CREAM.
Sour cream (or full fat yogurt) makes for the most tender cake with a light tang on the palette. While most layer cakes call for either whole milk or buttermilk, sour cream will make a pound-style cake tender with a bit of gravitas.
The batter will be fluffy and thick – nowhere near pourable that’s right!
The batter is lightly scented with coriander which will highlight the plum and lemon curd but if you don’t have lemon curd on hand, you can add lemon zest and a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the cake batter to add a hit of that lovely lemon flavor.
What’s a plum cake recipe without a few late summer plums? I love yellow-fleshed plums with deep purple skin though Italian prune plums are also lovely (and smaller so you’ll have more plum per cake slice). Whatever fresh plums you choose, allow the plums to ripen, slice in half, twist and remove the pit.
Full disclosure: I’ve been impatient and made this cake with barely ripe, mostly very firm plums and the bake time is enough to soften a stone-like stone fruit.
Of all your cake pans, I recommend using a springform pan for this cake. The removable sides keep us from having to invert the cake to remove it from the pan. If you don’t have a springform in your collection, a tall-sided 9-inch cake pan will do ya just fine.
Grease the cake pan, spread half of the cake batter across the bottom of the pan and arrange the pitted plums, cut side down in a circular pattern.
Spread the remaining batter over the plums – an offset spatula is great for this task. I like to leave a little plum skin peeking through. Dollop the top of the cake generously with lemon curd (so good, it’s so good!) and swirl into the cake batter.
With a little time in the oven, the lemon curd will bake to a golden chewy texture. It’s magic. This cake is a long bake so settle in. It will bake for nearly an hour. I rotate the cake pan to brown all sides about halfway through baking.
The cake is baked when the top is deeply golden, the cake is risen, and maybe the edges are bubbling. A cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. It may be a little challenging to find the cooked crumb amidst the plums and curd but keep a keen eye around the 55 to 60 minute mark.
Allow the cake to cook for an hour, it really does need to settle to slice cleanly. Use a straight sharp knife, a serrated knife will tear the crumb needlessly.
I love this cake served with a dollop of whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream but a cup of black coffee is also a great choice.
A tender pound cake with sweet soft plums and swirls of jammy lemon curd. A perfect between season cake bake.
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan (or springform pan), line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and grease the parchment paper as well. Lightly flour the pan and knock any extra flour from the pan.
- In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, coriander if using, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl with electric hand beaters or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute per egg. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is mixed in well. Beat in the sour cream on medium speed.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stop the mixer and finish incorporating the batter until well combined. The batter will be thick.
- Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. An offset spatula is a great tool to spread the batter. Arrange 10 to 12 plum halves, cut side down, on top of the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the plums and use the offset spatula to spread into an even layer. Dollop with big globs of lemon curd and swirl just slightly.
- Bake until deeply golden and the sides of the cake are pulling away from the pan. A toothpick inserted in the cake will come out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. This is a long bake cake at 50-55 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Remove cake from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before trying to invert the cake.
- Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan. Place a flat plate over the pan and invert the cake. Peel the parchment round off the cake and gently invert the cake top side up.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with lightly sweetened cream and black coffee or tea. Cake lasts, wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.
Keywords: plum, cake, lemon curd, lemon, pound cake, sour cream, fall cake, holiday cake
Joy the Baker September 16, 2022 at 08:39AM