Sunday, November 10, 2013

Plum Cake & how to enjoy Autumn

Autumn rarely gets the credit it deserves.  People tend to favor hot summer days, crisp winter snow or the fresh spring breeze.  Nonetheless, autumn is the most picturesque season - that is if you're lucky enough to get some sunshine and a clear blue sky.

On sunny autumn days, Mother Nature paints the most colorful and elaborate pictures.  Bright reds dancing with yellows and oranges, mosaics of all sorts of leafs covering the ground, and the contrast between already bare, sad tree branches, and the still covered die-hards.  Such days are a huge inspiration to me - I just can't resist grabbing my camera, and going out for hours and hours of exploring, admiring and capturing this dazzling, flamboyant beauty.

These pictures were taken in November in Philadelphia, where I lived at the time. I'd been wanting to capture the autumn colors for a while, and when the right sunny weekend came, I ventured on the quest. I was so hungry for nice shots, that I walked and walked for hours, not even noticing I spent almost an entire day taking pictures. A day very well spent, in my book ;-)

But even when it's gloomy and rainy outside - autumn has its charms. Don't you ever feel like not doing anything particularly "ambitious" on a free day? Just curling up under a blanket, with a good book in one hand and a cup of hot lemon & honey tea in the other. In my always-busy-and-hectic-every-day-life I truly long for such cosy moments of peace. 

However, I find you can only enjoy such days when it's pouring with rain and gloomy outside. Nice weather lures me out: I want to go running, cycling, taking pictures: OUT. But when it's cold and wet, I feel absolutely no urge to go outside. Watching the rain fall and hearing the wind blow while you're sitting next to a heater (nice & cosy; dry & warm) makes you feel so safe and peaceful. Autumn is great for such slow-paced and easy-going moments.

The great thing about autumn is also the produce available during this season. Fragrant apples, pears and plums, fresh walnuts and hazelnuts, chestnuts, and let's not forget Queen Pumpkin. With such delicious fruits and veggies at hand, the range of autumn recipes is endless. Hearty soups, warming you up on cold, long evenings; roasted root vegetables; purées, mashes and stews of all kind.  And of course, the many great desserts: pumpkin bread or pie, plum crumbles, upside-down pear cakes, caramelized apples, cranberry cheesecakes... this divine list goes on and on.  This recipe is one of my favorite desserts during plum season.

This plum cake is the definition of what I know to be good old-fashioned, home-made cake.  Simple, not too fancy-schmancy, but so delicious and homey.  The cake is moist, because of the the huge amount of added fruit, not too sweet, and topped of with a delicious crumble.  You can add almost any type of fruit to the cake - also frozen if you prefer (no need to defrost beforehand).  The recipe is foolproof, and always works.

The cake stays fresh for quite a few days, which means you can make a bigger batch at once, and enjoy it longer.  We all know, the world looks a little bit better with a piece of cake in your hand.  So go ahead, bake the cake and enjoy this beautiful autumn season!

CAKE INGREDIENTS (all at room temperature):
  • 200 g butter
  • 160 g sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200 g flour
  • 40 g potato starch or 1 package of pudding powder mix (vanilla flavor, approx. 40 g)
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 150 g flour
  • 100 g cold butter
  • 50 g powdered sugar
  • 800 g plums, halved and pitted (other fruit will also work, e.g. peaches, strawberries)

  • Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  • Sift the flour, pudding powder and baking powder.
  • Mix the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy.  Keep on mixing and add the sugar and salt.  Add the eggs, one by one, mixing after every addition.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter mix, and stir them in with a spatula until just combined (don't over-stir).
  • Line a baking tray (20 x 30 cm) with parchment paper.  Transfer the batter onto the tray, even out.
  • Distribute the plums evenly on the batter, skin side down.
  • Prepare the crumble by quickly mixing the ingredients by hand.  Sprinkle on top of the plums.
  • Bake for approx. 45 minutes.  Test if the cake is done wh a woden skewer / matchstick - if they still come out wet, bake a bit longer.
The recipe comes from Dorotus' blog (modified by me).

Bon appetit!

No comments:

Post a Comment