I haven't had any strange food cravings yet. Nothing involving (gasp!) pickles or unusual condiment combinations. There might be a mild flirtation with Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream, but honestly, can we really blame that on the kid? I have, however, been baking quite a bit these days and I couldn't resist a recipe that has the word "dimply" in the title. This is a Dimply Plum Cake from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Baking: From My Home to Yours." If you're at all into baking, you should click on that link right now and buy a copy. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Her recipe calls for plums, but I always find plums more tart than I expect, so I used pluots. A pluot is apparently what you get when you cross a plum and an apricot and then throw another plum into the mix. Regardless, they are super sweet and all over California in the late Summer and Fall. This is technically a coffee cake, which means it qualifies as breakfast. Cake for breakfast. You're welcome.
Here's the recipe:
Dimply Plum Cake
from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used cinnamon. I think cardamom tastes kind of weird)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums (or even Italian prune plums, when they are in season), 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, salt and cinnamon together.
Working with a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. On medium speed, beat in the oil, zest and vanilla. The batter will look very light and smooth, 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—Dorie says she usually makes four rows of four plum halves each—jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter. I guess my pluots were a bit bigger, since I only got three rows of three.
Bake for about 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—during which time the plums’ juices will seep back into the cake—then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.
Enjoy with strong coffee and a good book.