You know that saying that a balanced life is a life without passion? well, it tends to describe my life pretty well.
I have never had a “balanced” life. I am usually “all in” on one thing or another and it tends to throw everything else off balance. Is balance really that important? I’d say it’s over rated.
Right now I am all into baking bread and developing sourdough starters. Considering it’s just the two of us at home it may look like I am operating a mini bakery, but I am having fun. There is so much to learn about baking bread. My bread book collection is ever expanding, stacked high by my bedside for bedtime reading, on my desk by the computer and, together with cookbooks, covering every flat surface in the house. I have been reading a lot, educating myself in the art and science of baking bread, experimenting with flours, hydration ratios, long fermentation, cold fermentation and in the process, producing some good breads most of the time.
To take a break from baking bread I turned my attention to the last of the plums that are available at the market. I made a few jars of plum jam to use over the next few months (not really, we leave for Australia and New Zealand soon) and today I was in the mood to make a plum cake (aka plum kuchen) with the last few plums in my fridge.
This is an easy recipe that does not require a mixer and can be made in one bowl (for the wet ingredients). I use oil instead of butter and keep the plums on top of the cake arranged in a concentric design. The cake is soft and moist and I skip the crumb (streusel) topping that you see in traditional in German kuchen. Serve it with whipped cream or on it’s own. Delish.
1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted after measuring
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 cup plain yogurt
6-8 prune plums, cut in quarters
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350℉.
Butter or oil-spray a round 9″ cake pan with a removable bottom and line the bottom with a round of parchment.
Combine flour baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Place the oil in another bowl, add the sugar and mix with a whisk until sugar dissolves.
Add eggs, whisking them in one at a time, then add the vanilla and lemon zest.
Add the flour alternating with the yogurt and mix until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Arrange the plum wedges in a concentric design on top of the batter pressing them in lightly.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on top of the cake.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife you insert into the cake comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan before removing.
When the cake cools dust it with powdered sugar (use a small sieve)
Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.