I'm always a season ahead— which would be really great if I worked in R&D. In the fall, all I can think up are comforting winter desserts. In summer, all I can think up are desserts with pumpkins and apples. When I switched desserts to this warm spiced plum cake, it was still 90º outside in Seattle. And I wondered why it didn't sell that week. HA! This is sort of a transitional dessert getting you primed for the tastiness of fall. It's taken off of the skillet cake recipe from Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. It's a very lovely book. So this recipe can be made in a cast iron skillet if you want. I do individual one-cup capacity ramekins instead for presentation's sake.
(makes 8 one-cup ramekin servings)
4 large red plums
8.5 oz cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
4 oz butter
7 oz sugar
.5 tsp salt
8.5 oz Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
First, measure out and prep all the ingredients. Halve and pit the plums, and cut each half into three. Combine the dry ingredients and sift. Have the butter, sugar and salt in the mixing bowl, have the eggs cracked in a bowl and the yogurt and vanilla in a small bowl ready to go.
When you're ready to mix, place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place about two teaspoons of additional butter in each ramekin. Place them in a 350º oven and now start mixing the cake.
Cream the sugar, butter and salt in a mixer. Beat in the egg one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl and the beater. The beat in the yogurt and vanilla. By hand, mix in the dry ingredients. By now the butter in the ramekins should be melted and sputtering, you can let it brown just a bit too. Remove the ramekins from the oven and divide the batter evenly between them. Arrange three plum wedges, skin up, on top of the batter. Generously sprinkle the tops of the cakes with vanilla sugar. Bake the cakes at 350º for about 30 minutes, or until cakes are done in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool. Serve still warm or re-warm them with a scoop of ice cream.