Monday, June 11, 2007

A Plum Sunday Cake

I promised I would blog about my birthday presents and so I will. My brother's present to me, sent all the way from the UK, was Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Kitchen to Yours. Dorie's other books include Cooking with Julia and Chocolate Desserts with Pierre Herme (which I also have). Her 'Baking' is an extremely comprehensive tome and it's all you will ever need for home baking, I just wish a prettier cover photo had been chosen. I didn't have the foresight to take a picture of it for this post, so you will just have to check it out on Amazon here .

The funny thing about this book is that she has these extremely ordinary and ah-ma (dialect for grandmother-ish) recipes (like cinnamon chocolate square and buttery jam cookies) inside, at the same time, she has really niche and famous recipes like Pierre Herme's lemon cream. This is one of those books that you will keep in your kitchen rather than on a bookshelf because you can go back to the recipes again and again for the family. I was thrilled to discover that Dorie also has her own blog, check it out here.

I don't know about you but I run errands and go to the market sometimes on Saturday mornings, so I rise early. On Sunday though, I kind of like to have a snooze-in and a lazy morning of pottering around, or reading the paper with music, or watching the TV. This is the perfect, easy-peasy cake to make and it keeps beautifully for the rest of Sunday company and entertainment.

It's a cream-butter-and-sugar recipe with a small dab of butter but with the addition of some unflavoured oil and orange zest. After scraping the batter into a pan, halve some fresh plums and sit them in your batter, pushing them downward lightly so that they sink.

The baking time on the recipe says 40 minutes but because my oven is a bit like a E200 Mercedes (old and underpowered) and because the plums gave off juice, the cake took almost double the time. Also, if I were to do this again, I might seperate my eggs and whip the egg whites for a lighter texture, or use a lemon cake recipe for the contrast in flavours.

The effect of this cake is great. The plum skin stains the top part of the cake slightly maroon while the plums themselves are just soft and succulent, almost savory when baked. This is a perfect thing to make in Singapore where plums have become much more common and perennial but can sometimes be a little hard and monotone in taste.

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