Every time I go to the farmer's market at Government Center, I try to pick up something I've never cooked with before. This time it was teeny weeny damson plums from Noquochoke Orchards. I had recently read Luisa's post about Dorie Greenspan's Dimply Plum Cake (as you can see, LOTS of people have made and loved it) and I wanted to try it with these little gems.
Alas, I had no cardamom. This lack led me on an interesting search this weekend at Christina's spice shop in Inman Square. If you are in Boston and looking for an unusual spice at a reasonable price, I must recommend it most highly - plus the same-owner ice cream shop next door is great! But I digress.... I made this cake last week when I had no cardamom, so I subbed in garam masala, an Indian spice blend which listed cardamom as the second ingredient.
The original recipe also called for sweet Italian prune plums, and damson plums are VERY tart. I like tart so I like them on this cake, but I'm sure it's delicious in its original incarnation as well. As an aside - I have to thank Adam for his help with this cake: emergency canola oil run and (!) pitting the plums. The tiny, multitudinous plums. He's so patient.
The cake itself has a wonderful flavor - the garam masala lends an interesting exotic note to a fairly straightforward cake with a sturdy crumb. I've been eating it for breakfast topped with plain yogurt. It's not going to make anybody dance and sing, I don't think, but if you're looking for something interesting that isn't a muffin or coffee cake, give this dimply plum cake a try.
Dimply Plum Cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose four
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of one lemon (I used the zest of half a lemon, but I should have used the whole thing!)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 lb damson plums, halved and pitted
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8x8 baking dish (or pie plate).
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and garam masala.
Using an electric or stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, mixing to combine well, then beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish, lay the plums cut side up on top and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let cool and serve with plain yogurt, if desired. Cake keeps for several days at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap.