The main ingredients: Plums and Flour
When I think about “brunch”, I think about girls getting together and chatting. I think about friendships. Growing up in Lake Valley, our neighborhood was a bit like The Wonder Years. We were The Gadzia’s, next door were the Wheeler’s, The McKee’s, and the Bemis’, The Wiggins’, The Simmons’, The Zumwalt’s, The Godwin’s, the Todd’s…and Pete on the corner who gave us bare-footed kids Tootsie Roll pops. Then of course, there were The Lund’s. Many of my first food memories and first tastes were at The Lund’s house. Christina was three years older than me, the same age as my brother but we were the good friends. She was more like the big sister I never had- but always wanted.
Their house was so much more immaculate than ours. Being that Mom owned a pet shop, our house was more like an exotic zoo at times. We had a pet raccoon, a spider monkey, even had a pet prairie dog once. But it was a beautiful home with a pool on the lake, and my childhood Elementary school years are most memorable.
Mrs. Lund probably never imagined that I would become a Foodpreneur, and at that time, was mentally cataloging everything I tasted at her house. I had my first cucumber salad there, first homemade wheat rolls, and of course, my very first taste of German plum cake. I remember Mrs. Lund as a gracious, beautiful and sweet lady with a German accent who was also the school librarian. I went back to the old neighborhood a few years ago and Mr. & Mrs. Lund looked exactly the same as they did 30 years ago. Even their lawn was as perfect as it was 30 years ago.
People would find it strange that I remember everything I’ve ever tasted, and everything everybody else tells me, they tasted.
I found an early photo of myself relaxing in our back yard on the hammock, obviously quite curious about a strawberry. Food seemed to be as curious to me then as it is now.
Now back to the Plum cake. The German name for Plum Cake is “Zwetschgendatschi.” There are two main versions, the easy version with powder for rising or the more time-consuming version with yeast. I’ve made both. The yeast version tastes more like Plum Bread to me. My girls loved it right out of the oven with melted butter.
This is not a sweet cake. I like granulated sugar as opposed to powdered sugar. This is pure cake with real fresh plums. I reduced this recipe to be made in a 8×8 inch square pan…simply because a 9×12 cake is just too much cake for my family. Plus, most of the recipes call for a whole pound of plums or more. I made mine with only three plums. The important thing is to make sure your plums are ripe. They will give when you push on them. I use margarine in this recipe because I don’t think butter improves it. I love butter, don’t get me wrong. I will post the yeast version next week.
- 4 Tablespoons, half a stick of margarine
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 cup flour
- 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest and/or pure vanilla extract
- 3 or 4 ripe plums, seed removed and sliced in wedges
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium mixing bowl, gently melt the margarine. Stir in the milk and then the egg. With an electric mixer, begin beating on medium speed. Add sugar, flour, and baking powder. Add zest or extract and continue blending until batter is smooth.
- Pour into a greased and floured (or Pam Baking Sprayed) 8x8 inch square or round cake pan.
- Place sliced plum wedges into the batter, skin down.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden. Remove and let cool before sprinkling with more sugar.
- Serves 4-5
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