There is something hauntingly marvelous about an evening in the month of September. The leaves are orange yet the weather still warm; one foot in the impending autumn, one foot stubbornly refusing to leave summer. I can say without hesitation that autumn is my favorite season of all, but a summer of memories that will never replay will hold me down long enough to enjoy the last few warm, hazy sunsets of the year. A cup of tea, a slice of cake, and the company of an old friend, and, well, I'm a happy girl.
Plums will very soon be out of season, so I've taken advantage of the sweet, succulent fruits while I could. A more traditional German Plum Cake will come with a yeast or shortcrust dough, but this version of the "Zwetschgenkuchen" with it's rich, buttery base is just as delightful.
German Plum Cake
Ingredients for Cake:
1 stick butter, softened, plus a little more to grease the baking dish
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Zest from one lemon
Pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup flour
1 Tsp baking powder
2 cups plums, pitted and sliced
Ingredients for Topping:
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp raw coarse sugar (Optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9-inch round baking dish with butter.
2. Cream together 1 stick butter and 3/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, then add the sour cream, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until well mixed.
2. Add 1 1/3 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and lemon zest, mix well.
3. Spread the batter into prepared dish, arrange sliced plums in a circular pattern over the batter, set aside.
4. For topping, cream 6 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy, then add 1/2 plus 2 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and mix well. Crumble over the sliced plums.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, until top becomes lightly golden. Remove from oven, top with coarse sugar and place back into the oven for another 5 minutes. If you do not add coarse sugar, bake for 35 minutes.
6. Let cool to room temperature.