This is a simple, buttery cake. Visually, it’s a summer stunner. Taste-wise, it’s more autumn. Both the use of cinnamon and Deb’s comment that it was more a late summer/early fall cake should have clued me in, but somehow I was still surprised by the spice.
While I probably won’t make this cake again with the temps soaring well into the hundreds, I will certainly file it away for when the air is crisp and the body craves warm cider and spice.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 purple or red plums, halved and pitted
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a large (9 or 10 inches) pie plate or 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
In a larger bowl using an electric mixer (or stand mixer), beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each. Beat in the oil, lemon zest, and vanilla; the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
Using a spatula, scrape down the sides and under the batter, to make sure everything is incorporated. Scrape the batter into greased pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up (I arranged mine in a circle around the edge of the dish), pressing them so they settle into the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool. Serve at room temperature, dusted with powdered sugar or served alongside vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Cake will keep at room temperature for up 2-3 days, during which time it will get softer and moister. This is a cake that gets better with age.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.