We do have a lot of plums. And many varieties. Somewhere in a box is the old map scratched out in pencil on notebook paper of the trees originally planted on these 15 acres. Over 200 trees about 30 years ago by the guy who homesteaded the place when he was about 24 years old. I would say about 25% still remain. We’ve been remiss in planting new fruit trees and it’s time.
Our first years here could be described as the living off the land years. The cabin and our water heated by the woodstove that served double duty cooking down apple and plum butters. We collected the ash from the stove for the outhouse which after a few years served as mulch around the fruit trees. Trust me at that point it was like coffee grounds. This same stove still cranks out the heat to this day, so much heat you can lie around in your birthday suit upstairs. But no, I’m not writing this entirely naked.
We canned enough applesauce, apple butter, plum jam, plum butter, blackberry jam etc to feed a family of twelve for about three years. And we did this every year till it started piling up.
Having lived in beautiful Hamburg these last few years, I did little canning and immensely enjoyed our market four days a week only a short walk from home. Sometimes, it was a relief. Now back on the property, with trees busting out fruit this year like there’s no tomorrow, I’m re-evaluating how I can appreciate this abundance without the stress. I’m learning to only take the energy to can or freeze what we will actually eat over the winter, tell friends to please come pick and I’m enjoying eating and baking what’s on the trees in the moment. Which brings me to this lovely plum cake recipe from Food 52. It’s a keeper.
First off line your baking pan with parchment paper. Then butter and dust it with flour.
One little extra here was I let the cut plums sit with a little sprinkled sugar while I prepared the batter. The recipe calls for italian plums and ours are just on the verge of ripe. So I used a deep red skinned and red fleshed plum that has a pit that sticks to the flesh and I’ll be damned if I can find the name of it. But be sure I’m on a mission to reacquaint myself with the names of all these trees! And holler if you can tell me.
Basically eggs,butter,sugar,sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest and the usual dry ingredients make up a sticky batter. Try to evenly spread a thin first layer, sprinkle with brown sugar and place cut plums on top.
Then because the batter is so sticky, I put clumps on top then sort of spread them together. (you may notice a little blackberry… this was another round of the recipe with berries)
Then add more plums and another tablespoon of brown sugar.
Bake at 350-375°F for 55-60 minutes till the top is golden.
We sliced it up and served with a lightly sweetened whipped cream that I cut with a little sour cream. Set one piece aside to sit covered overnight on the counter and enjoy it with a cup of tea the next morning. Please.
This plum cake recipe I actually followed verbatum. Except by the third time I made it….in three days. I ran out of sour cream and substituted a little yogurt. And I used freshly picked blackberries and raspberries. I think our neighbors will agree… it worked quite well.
Here’s to a fruit filled fall,