The day began innocently enough. I was bopping along, baking breakfast goodies, singing “Plum in a Cake” to the tune of “D*ck in a Box.”
1. Whip up a cake.
2. Put a plum in that cake.
3. Then you bake up the cake.
Next thing I know, my camera (which was a gift from D) is lying broken on the floor. Damage assessment: broken SD reader. The camera won’t work without it, and tethering isn’t working, either. Probably not the best time to discover that my aging laptop won’t read high capacity SD cards.
This is food blogging hell, ladies and gentlemen.
I blame it on our kitchen cabinet handles; I’m constantly getting hooked on them, and have already ripped several shirts. In this case, the camera strap got caught on one, and yanked right out of my hands. Shirts are bad enough, but this… This just blows. It’s not quite as bad as being locked in a used port-a-potty and pushed down a steep hill, but it’s not far off. The repair parts alone are at least $125. Fml.
I know this is only coffee cake, but I think it might need a scoop or three of ice cream on the side. My soul needs the healing power of frozen dairy products.
On the bright side, at least the cake was good. First you get the crunchy streudel, then the warm, soft, tart plums, and then the moist cake. It really is a pretty fabulous combination of textures and flavors. And the salt of my tears gave it a special tang. Kidding, kidding. I didn’t really cry. Much.
Seriously, it’s good.
Plum Streusel Coffee Cake
Adapted from Gourmet
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp lemon zest, minced fine
4 to 5 medium plums (I used black plums)
Small squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about a tsp
powdered sugar for sifting over cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter a deep 8″ baking pan (about 3″ deep). Dust the bottom and sides with flour, and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
- Pit and slice the plums, about 1/4″ thick slices. Toss the sliced plums with the lemon juice. Set aside.
- For the streusel: Pulse together the streusel ingredients in a food processor until combined and crumbly. Alternately, you can chop the walnuts by hand, then combine everything except the butter in a medium bowl. Then use a fork or pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly.
- For the cake: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, zest, and salt. Turn the speed to stir and run until the ingredients have sifted together. Add the butter one piece at a time, then increase the speed slightly and mix the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles sand, and the largest pieces of butter is no bigger than a pea.
- In a cup or small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla. No, that’s not a mistake; that’s all the liquid you’re going to use. Yes, I know it’s a little unnerving. You can hold my hand if it helps.With the mixer running on low, drizzle the liquid into the flour mixture until the batter is just moistened, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. The batter will be thick, but we expected that, right?
- Spread the cake batter in the prepared pan, and then arrange your plum slices over the batter in concentric circles; feel free to reward yourself with a few slices of fruit while you’re working on this. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the plum slices, and pop the cake into the oven. Bake it for about an hour (start checking it after 45 minutes), or until a knife comes out clean.
- Let it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes, then turn out the cake onto a nice plate (flip it out briefly onto a small plate, remove the parchment paper, then flip right-side up onto your serving plate). Sift the powdered sugar on top.
- This can be served warm, or at room temperature.