Summer's bounty is everywhere these days. On trips to the market, I'm typically overwhelmed by the options on hand: berries, tomatoes, corn, melon, greens, stone fruit...they all abound, and, more often than not, temptation overwhelms my reason. I wind up with three pounds of peaches, or two pounds of plums, and I'm left - all alone - in my apartment, trying to figure out what to do with all of it before it goes bad on me.
This weekend, I decided to make a cake. As I often do when I am in need of inspiration, I headed over to Smitten Kitchen and did a little poking around. I searched for plum recipes, peach recipes, general stone fruit recipes...and hit the jackpot. I wanted something tasty that would showcase the peaches and plums I'd bought, but also be easy to get into the office the next morning. (I made a blueberry-nectarine buckle last week that nearly did me in on the subway.) Deb's dimpled plum cake seemed the perfect solution.
I didn't have enough peaches to make a lemon-and-peach version, so I went half and half: lemon with peaches and green plums. I was also out of light brown sugar, so I used dark - and loved the results. The cake was moist, with a fine crumb, and fragrant with lemon and molasses. And, true to expectations, it was remarkably easy to make and to transport - and, given that it was more or less gone by 1 PM, I'd say it was a hit at the office, too.
What more could a girl ask for out of some Sunday afternoon interwebs poking-about?
Dimply Peach and Plum Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Two peaches and three plums, halved and pitted
Place a rack in the center of your oven and pre-heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour an eight-inch square baking pan, and place on a cookie sheet. Set aside.
Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer fitted with the beaters), beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and creamy, about three minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat on medium speed, about three minutes more, until the mixture is light, fluffy and uniform. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well to incorporate fully after each addition.
Beat in the oil, zest and vanilla, then reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two or three batches. Using a spatula, give the bowl a good swipe around the edges to make sure the batter is uniform. Pour into the prepared pan.
Arrange the plums and peaches prettily, cut-side up, in the batter. Jiggle them a bit to make sure their tops are even with the top of the batter.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, checking every five minutes past twenty to see how you're doing. When a knife or tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, you're done.
Set the cake on a rack to cool for at least fifteen minutes. (This will also give the fruit juice that's come out of the plums and peaches to seep into the cake.) When you're ready to serve the cake, run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a plate, then back onto a final plate. (In other words, serve fruit-side up.)