Tuesday, September 2, 2014

TWD: Baking with Julia - Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes

Our recipe this week for Tuesday's with Dorie is Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes.  It is really perfect timing, as the plums I have been purchasing lately have been delicious!  I love when things work out that way!

These little baby cakes are amazingly easy.  And what I  mean by that is they truly take no time to put together!  Before you know it, you are cleaned up and waiting for the little cutie pies to get out of the oven!  The full recipe makes 12 cakes, but I don't actually need to have 12 yummy little cakes in my house.  That is a BAD idea.  So I thought I'd be smart about this one and halve the recipe.  Yeah, me!  These cakes are baked in individual custard cups.  I halved the recipe, so I only made 6 little cakes, instead of 12.  I only  had 3 of the right size so I also used 3 smaller ramekins, which seemed to work!  Phew.  I had worries about the batter overflowing all over the place (hence the parchment lining the sheet pan) but it didn't happen!  In fact, I sort of like how the cakes turned out in the little ramekins better than the ones in the cups.  I think they are prettier, with the straight sides.  Plus, getting the cake out of the cups was a bugger!  It did not look pretty, I must admit!

So, to make these little cakes, you essentially make a small amount of cake batter.  You place a couple tablespoons of the batter in buttered ramekins/cups, place a halved plum on top (face up) and then sprinkle the top with brown sugar.  Done.  Into the oven they go, and the cake puffs up around the sides of the plum and gets nice and golden on top.

A few thoughts about this recipe:
I think some of the components really depend on the sweetness of the plum.  My plums were pretty sweet on their own, so I would definitely cut back on the amount of brown sugar I sprinkled on top with plums this sweet.  They just don't need it!  Plus, I would cut down on the amount of orange zest a little, too.  It sort of shocks me that the previous statement came out of my brain, as I love orange zest, but it almost overpowered the sweet plum.  I think if the plum had been a little more tart, the zest would have complemented it more, instead of competed a bit.  My plums had a very mild, sweet taste, so I did not want any flavors to compete.

That said, I would definitely make this again.  It was easy and I think it would look beautiful at a dinner party with a dab of whipped cream.  And it would also be delicious with a fresh nectarine!  And I'd like to try this as one big cake instead of mini cakes.  I am sure with the right sized pan, it would work!  I'll have to see if any of my TWD pals made one cake... I am sure someone probably did!

Oven-Roasted Plum Cakes
adapted from Baking with Julia
serves 12

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus melted butter for greasing cups
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar, divided use
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon minced orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk
6 large ripe plums, halved and pitted

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter the insides of 12 8- to 9-ounce custard cups or ramekins, and set them inside a rimmed sheet pan.

Cream the butter, 2 TB of the brown sugar, and the granulated in the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment.  Cream for 3 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then beat again for another 3 minutes, until the mixture is very light in color and the sugar is mostly dissolved.  Add one of the eggs and beat on high speed for about a minute.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle and then add the second egg and beat for 30 seconds.  Add the orange zest and vanilla, and beat on high for about 30 seconds, until both are incorporated.  Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour and baking soda.  Beat for 15 seconds.  Add the buttermilk and mix for 30 seconds.  All of these times are so that the batter is not over-mixed.  Finish any mixing with a rubber spatula.

Drop approximately 2 TB of batter into the bottom of each cup/ramekin.  Place one halved plum, cut side up, on top of the batter, pressing down just a little so it is set.  Sprinkle some of the remaining brown sugar over the tops of each plum.  Place the sheet pan holding the cups/ramekins into the oven and bake for around 25 minutes, until they are golden on top and a cake tester placed in the cake part of the cups comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let cool in their cups for 8-10 minutes.

Unmold the cakes by running a short knife or icing spatula around the sides and a little under each cake.  Lift the cake out of the cup with the spatula, plum side up, and place on individual dessert plates.  Serve warm, with whipped cream, ice cream, chocolate sauce, or nothing!

Wrap remaining cakes airtight and store at room temperature for one day.
Printable Recipe


  1. I thought the amount of brown sugar to be sprinkled was way too much so I used hardly any of mine and let the fruit just come through. Turned out ok in the end. :)
    Your cups and ramekin combination looks cute!

  2. So beautiful! I have missed TWD this summer, but will be back soon!

  3. I'm so impressed you got your cakes out in one piece! Impressive!

  4. The cakes look great. They would be ideal to serve at a dinner party. My plums sank in, unfortunately.

  5. These were fun and tasty! Yours look good. I thought you could use less sugar on top as well - they were sweet.


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