Stone Fruit Sensation

As the month comes to a close, you might be noticing markets teeming with peaches, plums, and nectarines. Stone fruit is at the peak of its season in summer and now is the time to showcase it in everything from salads to desserts (and, of course, just fresh eating). To that end, I'm sharing a simple cake recipe that I simply adore. It's beautiful, fragrant, and nothing short of delicious:

Those pools of amazing color are plum halves that have their own caramelized juices surrounding them and flavoring a simple, ginger-infused cake. For me, this is the kind of dessert that summer begs to share with us. Imagine having friends and family over for a fun backyard barbecue and, when the main course is done and guests are cautiously looking around for something sweet, you present them with a plate like this:

I have forged lasting bonds in such a manner. Add small glasses of port alongside a dessert like this and light a few candles by the patio. This is the kind of dessert that begs to be lingered over while the laughter and fun continue well into the evening. Summer just got a bit sweeter, didn't it?

Ginger-Plum Cake

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup finely grated fresh ginger
  • 6 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 5-6 plums, halved and pitted
  • 1-2 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Coat a 10-inch springform pan liberally with cooking spray and set aside.

Beat the sugar, grated ginger, and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then beat in the sour cream until mixture is smooth and looks a little like creamy mashed potatoes (but smells nothing like them!). Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, and beat 3 minutes more, or until the batter is light in color and very smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the plums, cut side up, evenly over the batter. Carefully spoon just enough brown sugar to fill the cavity of each plum into the center of each plum half. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake for 20 minutes in it's pan on a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the cake, then gently open the spring-loaded sleeve and place the cake on a serving plate. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

  • Yields: 10-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

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