I had a lot of leftover plums. I’d bought some close to the end of the season – a few prune plums, a handful of red plums, some of those translucent-looking yellow ones, and a nectarine I bought on a whim that I thought would ripen but never fully did. All were hugely disappointing – I tasted a few of each and found them to be sour and unpleasant. Boo. But tomatoes, when they’re roasted, no matter how sucky they are when they start out, are always wonderful. The flavour intensifies, and the sweetness creeps out. So why can’t that sort of thing work for plums? Discovery: The same thing totally does work for plums.
Fourteen plums of various sizes, and a nectarine, cut haphazardly/however you feel like cutting them, at 200°F over two-and-a-half to three hours, will reduce and caramelize and sweeten up, giving you about two cups of roasty sticky goodness.
Scrape out your pan, syrup and all, into a bowl or something so that you can think about what you want to do with these. They’d be great on their own with ice cream or yogurt, or you could top them with crumbly butter, flour, and sugar and turn them into a crisp. I stored mine in ramekins for a couple of days until I’d decided their fate.
Their fate turned out to be cake. Breakfast cake. Because I’m a grown-up and I do what I want.
You could make this cake with apples, or even a couple of cups of caramelized, sweetened green tomatoes, if you were so moved. Berries or pears would also be delicious, as would rhubarb. You can make this at any time of year, with whatever fruit you’ve got on hand. I like unfinicky stuff like that.
Here’s the cake. It’s adapted from a recipe from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book.
Fruity Coffee Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup chilled butter
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups soft fruit (such as roasted plums, chunky applesauce, mashed berries, etc.)
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9″x13″ baking pan.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and mix well. Drop in the butter in cubes, working it in with your fingers to form a coarse crumb. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of these, and set aside.
Add the baking powder, baking soda, and spices to the remaining crumbs, and combine well. Stir in your milk and eggs until a cake batter is formed. This will be a lumpy batter, but don’t worry about it. That’s the butter chunks making it look lumpy, and that’s fine. Once the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, fold in your fruit.
Spread the batter into your prepared baking pan, making sure the fruit hunks are distributed evenly across the pan. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the whole cake.
Bake for 30 or so minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Serve warm from the pan.
We ate a bunch of this ourselves, but I also piled some up for Nick and sent it with him to work to make up for his perpetual lateness and hopefully score him awesome points. Since I don’t get awesome points at my work because I’m pretty sure most people don’t like me there, I just brought one piece for one person. He told me the cake was perfect, delicately spiced and actually rather light in spite of all the butter. Good for breakfast, or even dessert after a casual, homey dinner. So there you have it. Cake you can eat anytime.