Saturday, September 06, 2014
The Happy Hungarian Plum Cake
Are Hungarians always happy? They would be if they're having this lovely plum cake, especially with a cup of their national drink, which is, according to ItsHungarian, "a strong mocha with a high level of caffeine, a kind of Italian espresso, which is called kávé, presszókávé, or fekete (strong black coffee)."
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson's kitschy but charming ode to the stories of Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig. Movie night is always accompanied by a dinner that is more-or-less themed to go with the movie. This one was to be a potluck featuring a Hungarian chicken paprikash as the main course, and since dessert is one of the toughest dishes to make Dave-safe, I volunteered to bring that.
I was making a trip to the Hillsdale Farmers' Market anyway, and I knew that Anthony and Carol would have a good selection of plums from their organic orchard at Ayers Creek Farm. Sampling what they hand brought that week, I fell in love with the perfumey, sweet flavor of the delicately blushing mirabelles and bought a couple of dozen. Needless to say, the cake was beautiful and a hit with the movie-viewing crew.
Happy Hungarian Plum Cake
Butter or margarine for greasing the pan
1 Tbsp. flour, also for the pan
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 3/4 c. sugar, plus addt'l. 2 Tbsp.
1 3/4 c. milk or lactose-free milk
2/3 c. vegetable oil (like grape seed, etc.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 dozen ripe plums, halved and pitted
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 375°.
Grease a 13-inch by 18-inch baking pan* with the butter or margarine, then add the 1 Tbsp. of flour and shake the pan so it coats the bottom and sides
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, whisk 1 3/4 c. sugar and the eggs together until smooth. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir to combine until it becomes a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Arrange the plum halves, cut sides down, evenly over batter. Combine remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, 50 min.-1 hr.
* This recipe can be halved and baked in a 9-inch by 12-inch baking pan.