Sunday, October 16, 2011

trinity revisited

A plum trinity: Scotch. Jam. Spice Cake.

Its officially fall. At heart, I am a fall baby.  It's my season.  Leaves, cold air, endless cups of tea, and afternoons of dim light and Faulkner stories. Not to mention big sweaters, scarves, and all the soup and pastries you can stand. And I can, and do, stand for a lot. This plum trio actually started with a cocktail, but it's no wonder it ended in cake.

Plum. Scotch. Yum.  I imagine this drink to be something fitting of a pirate, or of Poe. There is certainly some mystery to it.  Named the Maritime Traitor, it's inventor, Marley at the Golden Beetle, was definitely going for a little more drunken sailor, but there is definitely something ravenish brewing as well.  Regardless, it's delicious, and its made with a plum syrup from my very own plum trees.

So step one, add plum juice to simple syrup, reintroduce plum skins, reduce, cool, strain, drink. Either make your own or get Marley to make you one, either way, you are welcome.

So after making the syrup I was left with a whole pile or mashed plum skin and meat.  So feeling rather industrious yesterday morning, and fancying some pancakes, I mixed the plum remains with maple syrup and reduced on the stove top on low, until the sauce thickened.  I supposed compote is a better word, but like the word tart, jam just has a better ring to it, I think.  After I made the compote, and because I am perpetually delaying doing any studying for the GRE, I decided to experiment with plum cakes.  Yes, cakes, as in multiple. With the amount I have on hand, I am finding plum plurality a welcome and delicious necessity.

Cake #1. Let's just call this cake Plum Jam Cake, we can debate the technicalities later, but I am sticking with Jam.

This cake is insanely moist, but still manages to walk the line between being sticky and dense without settling like a stone in your stomach.  While this is definitely not a pomp and circumstance celebration cake, I wouldn't discredit its dessert appeal . Whip up a little cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a little powdered sugar and you'd have your self one pretty, pink, plumy dessert. I however, opted for the breakfast and coffee route.

Plum Jam Cake 
    Highly adapted from Emily Luchetti Passion for Ice Cream 
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup blue cornmeal (I like the color better) plus some for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 oz butter, unsalted, room temp
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups plum Jame (compote)

Bake 350 for 50 minutes
Add flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and corn meal together set aside.  Beat sugar and butter together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time.   Combine milk, lemon juice, and extracts. Incorporate flour and milk mixture in turns to egg and butter mixture.  Pour into a greased and corn-meal floured bunt bann or spring foam pan. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.

Cake #2. Pudding Cake of Honey and Plum, Tender vol. II Nigel Slater.

This is a copy cat cake. It is that delicious on its own. I didn't, and wouldn't change a thing.  Thank you Nigel and thank you Molly or Orangette, who posted and shared this very recipe last month. It really is worth the fuss. This cake is amazing, with just the right amount of moisture it almost takes on a Clafouti  quality. Plums. I love you.

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