My fridge is absolutely filled to the brim with fruit. Watermelon, plums, four different kinds of berries, the list goes on and my grocery bill is embarrassingly high for two people. But I just can’t seem to help myself. We are in the throws of peak Summer fruit season and I eat and bake (and drink) with it as much as humanly possible. And, this one-bowl cake is up there on my list of very favorite summer-time desserts. Desserts incorporating plums are not only rare but depressingly absent from most restaurant dessert menus. Most people don’t even think to bake with them, which is such a tragedy. Because after you make this, you’ll be craving it all year long and not just during my favorite season.
Now, before you lose your cool once you see this recipe calls for homemade caramel sauce, no less caramel infused with fresh plum juice let me assure you that making caramel is easier then one might think. All it is, is burnt sugar. Some recipes use butter, some use water, some include salt, some even vanilla. So, do yourself a favor and please throw away that store-bought, chemical-laden caramel sauce and work with me to make your own. The best part is, even if you mess up and burn it past consumption, you can always toss it and start over without crying over all the expensive ingredients you’ve just wasted because it’s just sugar! Also, if you’re still that intimidated then buy yourself one of these to use the first few times you make it. It’ll take all the guess work out.
Please bring this to your next pot luck or picnic. I promise you not a speck will remain.
*recipe from Food 52
Makes one 9-inch cake
For the plum caramel
3/4 pound ripe plums
1tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean
3/4 cup sugar
For the cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, at room temperature, plus a little for greasing the pan
1 cup crème fraîche, divided
6 egg yolks
3/4 pound ripe plums
To make the caramel: Pit the plums and cut them into small wedges. Place them in a blender with the lemon juice and purée until smooth and liquidy. If you are using ripe, juicy plums, you won’t need to add any more liquid to make the purée a pourable consistency.
Use a paring knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds and pulp into a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla bean pod, the sugar, and 1/2 cup water.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat, without stirring. Cook for about 10 minutes, swirling occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber color. Slowly add the plum purée, whisking constantly. Continue cooking until any sugar that has seized is dissolved. Turn off the heat and let cool. Makes 1 cup plum caramel.
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter a 9-inch round springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Paddle just to combine.
Add the butter and 1/2 cup crème fraîche and paddle until the mixture starts to come together but is still crumbly.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup crème fraîche and the egg yolks, then increase the speed to medium-high and paddle until the color lightens to a pale yellow.
Remove the pits from the plums and cut them into 3/4-inch wedges.
Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Drizzle 1/3 cup plum caramel over the batter, then arrange half the plum wedges on top.
Dot the remaining half of the batter on top of the arranged plums and caramel, then gently spread it to cover the plums. Arrange the rest of the plum wedges on top
Put the cake in the oven with a sheet tray on the rack underneath to capture any caramel drips. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350° F and bake for 30 more minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a rack for at least 30 minutes before unmolding.
Serve the cake drizzled with additional plum caramel.