Monday, September 14, 2009

Plums and cardamom, anyone?

This morning I came across a blog that had the most inspiring photo of an upside down plum cardamom cake that I had to try it.

I broke open green cardamom pods for the seeds and it was one of the highlights of my day- freshly ground cardamom is in an altogether different category than the pale grayish lavender powder that's god knows how old you'll find in the grocery store. The armoa is striking- it always makes my mouth water. I also used a Ceylonese cinnamon, which is a little more nuanced than Vietnamese or Chinese cinnamon. It has a delicate aroma and long flavor that will compliment but not overpower the cardamom.

In case 'Alice's' link doesn't work, I'm rewriting the recipe below. I highly recommend visiting her site, though- the step-by-step photos are great and make the plausibility of attempting the recipe seem that much more reasonable. My photo isn't quite as sexy as her food styling, but you should have been there to taste it :)

Plum Cardamom Cake
Yield: one 9 or 10" cake

3 T melted butter
15-20 small-medium plums, quartered
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon (Ceylon recommended, though any varietal will do)
2 t ground cardamom

1/2 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 c flour
1 t ground cardamom
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c orange juice

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Grease & line with parchment a 9" or 10" round tall cake pan.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients. Using a pastry brush, cover the base of the cake pan with the sauce.
  • Starting from the outside perimeter and working your way towards the center, line the cake pan with the quartered plums in concentric circles.
  • To make the cake batter, cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy- a stand mixer is helpful here, or beaters, or a whisk (and Popeye arms).
  • Add the eggs on at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping the sides of the bowl down after each one. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Add about a third of this mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix just enough to combine them.
  • Pour in half of the orange juice, stir just to combine.
  • Follow with another third of the dry mixture, stir, then the rest of the orange juice, stir, and finish with the last of the dry mixture. Ideally you want to minimize the amount of stirring you do once you start adding the flour- doing it in sections will allow the liquids, dry ingredients and fat to come together quickly. I suppose if you're looking for quick & dirty, add the dry ingredients first, followed by the orange juice to finish it off.
  • Spoon the cake mixture on top of the arranged plums and spread the batter evenly. Bake it for about 50 minutes, or until the top is a deep golden brown and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • Once removed from the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Loosen the sides of the pan with a knife and flip it onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper, and serve it warm or at room temperature.


Tessie said...

wow... if I didn't have a pot on every single one of my burners right now, I would be starting this. so maybe I'll just hope that you bring in a wee bit to work and trade you for it!

William T. said...

Love your blog. I didn't know that you were doing this. It is great. Let me know if you want me to take some pictures for you in the future

vanessa. said...

William T, do I know you?

Tessie- we can turn it into a prize for a mini-game or something at work. Or we could just have a party.