Sometimes the best things in life are easy
I finally got round to making a cake this weekend. It was one of those lovely Sundays where time stands still and suddenly you have all the time in the world and absolutely nothing to worry about. I woke early, went for a run with Tim (the more grueling part of the day) and then settled into my kitchen with some nostalgic country music playing (the sort about broken hearts and fried chicken- oh wait that applies to all country music, right?) and a mission to have cake.
Last week I mentioned my favorite cake, Pflaumenkuchen (plum cake) and with a little foresight I even managed to remember to buy plums at the market on Saturday so yesterday I really had no excuse not to bake cake. More importantly this cake is easy. The most arduous task involved quartering the plums and then fanning them out prettily across the cake. But I actually quite enjoyed it.
The recipe I used comes from Dr. Oetker’s Backen Macht Freude my go-to source for German baked goods. I adapted it only slightly and all I have to say is WOW. It really reminds me of the American style coffee cake I grew up eating for Easter brunch but better because not only do you have that crumbly cinnamon streusel topping (my favorite part of coffee cake) but the plums turn soft in the oven and melt wonderfully into the cake. At the same time the lemon zest keeps it from becoming too jammy and what else can I say, it just works.
I beg you to have a slice of this cake while it’s still warm. It’s also very good the next day, room temperature served with a cup of Earl Grey. Just the way I’m having it right now.
Plum cake (also known as Plum Coffee Cake)
Slightly adapted from Dr. Oetker’s Backen Macht Freude
Springform pan (26 cm or 10 inches)
Preparation time: approximately 30 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes
800 g (about 2 pounds) small plums, pitted and quartered
For the batter:
125 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
125 g (2/3 cup) sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar OR 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
125 g (1/2 cup) soft butter
For the streusel:
150 g ( 1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 t ground cinnamon
100 g (1/3 cup) soft butter
Begin by greasing and flouring your springform pan, then set aside. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. For the batter first whisk together your flour and baking power. Add the sugar, vanilla sugar or extract, lemon zest, butter and eggs. Mix together with a handheld mixer or in a standing mixer with a whisk attachment just until combined. Next spoon batter into your prepared pan and smooth evenly.
Starting from the outside arrange the quartered plums to cover the cake batter completely. You may have extra plums in which case I recommend an impromptu plum cobbler!
Next mix together your streusel ingredients. Using either your mixer or your hands combine the dry ingredients with the butter until it becomes one sandy mass. Then sprinkle evenly (and generously) over the plums.
Bake for 50 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before removing the springform ring. Then, enjoy.