Dimply Plum Cake

When I see prune plums (aka: Stanley or Italian plums) at the farmer's market, I know summer is almost over.

These pretty little oblong plums are the last of the summer fruit for us here in the Garden State (that would New Jersey).

They are not good enough to eat plain (in my humble opinion), however, I love how they look and taste in a cake or tart, and I make one every September to signify the season is coming to an end.

Here, I made Dorie Greenspan's Dimply Plum Cake, but substituted olive oil for the gross canola oil (which I have no use for).
Also, since I didn't have light brown sugar, I used dark brown, and it was fine.

I love cardamom with apples or plums, and it is so nice in this cake, don't skip this spice.

This is the perfect breakfast cake, sort of like a cornbread, crumbly and not too sweet.
It gets better and softer as it sits.

I liked this cake better the second day after baking.

Dorie's Dimply Plum Cake (adapted from Serious Eats)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
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 sunflower (I used Colavita olive oil)
zest of 1 orange (or lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted (any plum variety will do)

Butter a 9" cake or pie plate.

Mix the flour with the baking powder, salt and cardamom.

In a large bowl, mix the buttter with the sugar, eggs, vanilla and zest.
Add in the olive oil last.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and make a batter.
Spread the batter into the pie plate and lay the halved plums, cut side up, in a decorative fashion.

I sprinkled on some turbinado sugar on top for good luck.

Bake 40 minutes in a 350F oven.

Let cool and enjoy these last few days of summer!


I found some pretty Italian plums yesterday. It's a toss between this and your fragipane now!
Bebe said…
I have made a similar cake for years. One difference is that mine called for the plum halves to be rounded side up on top of the cake. And it called for a spring form pan.

The rich flavor is in the slightly tart skin which sort of melds in cooking or baking with the bland sweetness of the plum's pulp, making for a luscious, rich-flavored fruit that is quite different from its raw state.

Laurie Colwin loved these and did some wonderful simple things. They make a wonderful plum compote, which I believe called for putting them in a pie plate in the oven with a bit of sugar.

My recipe file is upstairs, which is off limits since I broke my pelvis a few weeks ago. Her Italian plum recipes may be online and are worth a search. Yum stuff.
Bebe said…

These plums are usually available in only September-October max. I used to find them in large (4#?) clamshells at Costco. They freeze beautifully! I halved and pitted them (pit almost falls out. Spread them in a single layer to quick freeze. Put 24 halves in each quart freezer bag, gently press air out, and put back in the freezer. Lay them flat in the bags and they will be tidier and easier to stack in the freezer.

No sugar, nothing but plums.
Lou's Place said…
My favorite plum cake was always the one from Martha Stewart Upside-down-plum-cake that you can find on her Website at:
But this year I will definitely try this one with olive oil. I also use Colavita olive oil, it's the best.
Stacey, thank you! This recipe sounds divine. I love the combination of cardamom, brown sugar and olive oil. All I need to do is track down these plumbs! I will enlist Terri to help me find them. Thanks again!
Ciao Chow Linda said…
Looks luscious Stacey. I haven't bought any this year, but I usually use the Marion Burros recipe too. I'd like to add the cardamom next time. Happy Labor Day.
domenicacooks said…
I'm finally getting a chance to catch up with your blog (though I feel like we stay in touch through IG). I want to make all of these delicious summery dishes, even though we are at the tail end of summer. I haven't yet made a plum cake. It's on this week's list. You might like the one iI make from WS Rustic Italian. It's similar to the one you posted, but I use sunflower oil and a little almond meal in the batter. Plus a topping of sliced almonds mixed with sugar and melted butter. Thanks for reminding me about it. xo