Tag Archives: Cakes

Plum Cake

Michigan plums are a delicious fruit whether fresh, frozen or canned.  The harvest season for Michigan Plums begins in August and ends in September.  While most of the plums are eaten fresh some of the plums are canned and frozen.  A few Michigan Plum Facts:

Michigan produced 2,000 tons of fresh and processed plums in 2009, generating $1.3 million.  Most Michigan plums are of the Stanley and Damson variety.  Stanley plums are larger, elongated freestone European-type plums with blue-black skin and yellow flesh.  Source is michigangrown.org.

This Plum Cake is an easy to make and rustic looking cake that is sure to become a family favorite.   It  is a delicious cake that can be enjoyed warm with vanilla ice cream or cold with whipped cream.  It is also good with a morning cup of coffee.  It is a light cake and not too sweet.  I had enough plums that I baked the cake twice.  I used Michigan grown Stanley plums for this recipe.

Plum Cake

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 pound plums, pitted and quartered

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat on low speed until smooth.  The batter will be thick.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.  Arrange the plums on top, skin side up, in a circular pattern so that they mostly cover the batter.  Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar over the plums.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until golden on top and set in the center.

When the cake is hot out of the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan and then remove the springform edge, leaving the base in place.  Let the cake cool on a rack completely.  Slice and serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.  

Recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food bloggers, Once Upon a Chef, Jennifer Segal and can be found here.  Jennifer is also the author of two cookbooks.

      Once Upon a Chef: Weeknight/Weekend: 70 Quick-Fix Weeknight Dinners + 30 Luscious Weekend Recipes: A Cookbook and Once Upon a Chef, the Cookbook: 100 Tested, Perfected, and Family-Approved Recipes.  

Both cookbooks are available from Amazon and also from Apple Books.

I purchased both cookbooks from Apple Books and highly recommend both of them.

 

Vanilla Cake With Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

I think most of us in West Michigan are glad for the warmer temperatures.  I’m sure the birds and squirrels are glad of the warming trend.

This cake recipe is one that I had planned for a Valentine’s Day post but that didn’t happen.  It is a quick and easy cake to make and also very delicious.  It is a moist and flavorful cake and not overly sweet.  With it being a one layer cake, it is perfect for a small family.  You won’t need food coloring for this pretty pink frosted cake.  The raspberry puree will tint the frosting a perfect pink.

Vanilla Cake With Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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For the Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup very soft butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

For the Raspberry Buttercream

12 fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed if frozen)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb box powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract (or vanilla)
2-3 tablespoons milk (as needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray an 8 inch cake pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper.  Set aside.

For the Cake

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine.   Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk.  Begin and end with dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes until light golden brown or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out  clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Place the raspberries on a small plate and mash well with a fork and then press through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.  Set aside.

In a large bowl with electric mixer at low speed,  beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in the raspberry puree and raspberry extract.  Add milk, if needed.  Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until creamy and is of desired consistency for frosting the cake.

Spread the buttercream over the top of the cake and around the sides of the cake.  Decorate as desired.

Notes:
1.  If  you don’t have buttermilk on hand, use this substitution:  1 tablespoon white vinegar + enough milk to measure 1 cup.  Stir, then allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before using.
2.  Inspired by a recipe from the café sucre farine and can be found here.

This cute igloo was spotted in my neighborhood a few days ago when we still had below freezing temperatures.  Built by one of the neighbors and later filled with ice cream treats for anyone walking by.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A pineapple upside down cake is a vintage cake recipe.  The cake gets its upside-down name because the cake pan is first covered with melted brown sugar and butter.  It is then lined with canned pineapple slices and maraschino cherries before the batter gets poured on.  All of which makes for a delicious glazed topping.  After baking, the cake gets inverted to reveal pineapple and cherries on top.

While it may seem like a spring or summer dessert, this is one of my favorite cakes to enjoy year round.  This recipe is especially easy because it uses a Jiffy Cake Mix for a 1 layer yellow cake.  Jiffy cake mixes are usually available in the baking aisle of your favorite grocery store.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 (8 oz) cans Dole Pineapple Slices in 100% Pineapple juice, juice reserved
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
8-10 maraschino cherries
1 (9 ounce) Jiffy Yellow Cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice

Spray an 8-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Drain the pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice for the cake batter.  Set the pineapple slices and reserved juice aside.

Stir together the melted butter and light brown sugar in the cake pan.  Place pineapple slices on top of  sugar mixture.  Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice and in the center of the pan.  Set aside.

Using a hand mixer, mix the cake mix, egg and reserved pineapple juice together to combine.  Beat 2-3 minutes on medium speed until well combined.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the pineapples and cherries.  Bake at 350 degrees F. 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes.  Loosen edges and turn out onto serving platter.  Serve warm or cool.  Store covered in the refrigerator.  

I have on occasion baked the cake in my cast iron skillet.  The cake pan may be easier to bake in due to weight of the cast iron skillet.

Notes:
1.  You may not need all of the pineapple slices.
2.  A standard sized cake mix (15.25 oz) is too large for this recipe.
3.  Adapted from Allrecipes.

French Apple Cake

Last weekend, we drove to Traverse City, Michigan to check out the fall foliage.  Traverse City is a beautiful city to visit at any time but especially so in the fall.  The area has so much natural beauty that it is easy to get the feeling that you really are “up north”.

Traverse City claims that it is the Cherry Capital of the world, and it very well could be true.  The area does produce around 75% of America’s tart cherries.  The cherries were long gone on our visit but local apples were still available.  I found some local Honeycrisp apples from a farm stand on the Old Mission Peninsula Road.

We took a drive along this very scenic route.  It is a beautiful drive no matter what time of the year.  We stopped at a scenic overlook so I could take some pictures. We did see some color, but the colors had not peaked yet.  It was still a beautiful view.  There are several wineries along this road that beckon you to stop and sample local wines.  We saw a lot of grapes still on the vine.

At the end of Old Mission Peninsula Road is the very picturesque Mission Point Lighthouse.  The lighthouse was built in 1870 and is no longer in operation.  However, it is open for tours and provides a great photo opt for visitors.

Downtown Traverse City has a lot of good shopping.  One of my favorite places to shop is the Cherry Republic.  It is the place to go for all things cherry.  They sell everything from cherry jams to your favorite cherry wine.  All of their items are beautifully displayed.  Even if you don’t buy anything, it is a fun place to just look around.

I wanted to make something special with the apples I bought in Traverse City.  My first thought was an apple pie.  But after some research on the web, I found a beautiful French Apple Cake recipe that was perfect for my apples.

It is a recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Once Upon a Chef.  She has great recipes and beautiful pictures detailing the preparation of each recipe.  Please visit her web site to read the inspiration behind her French Apple Cake recipe.  The only change I made was to use brandy instead of rum because that is what I had.

This is a moist and buttery cake with a slight crunch and delicate flavor of the sweet apples.  I like how the top of the cake has a crispy taste from the sugar sprinkled on top.

French Apple Cake

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons brandy (original recipe calls for dark rum)
2 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes (I used Honeycrisp)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Confectioner’s sugar (optional) for decorating the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9-inch springform cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until until it is light and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add one egg at a time beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add in the vanilla and brandy and beat till combined.  If the mixture looks grainy that is ok.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.

Use a rubber spatula to fold the chopped apples into the batter mixture.

Spoon the batter into the prepared springform cake pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle the top evenly with the 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.  Let the cake cool until just warm.  Carefully run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and then remove the side of the springform cake pan.  With a fine sieve, sprinkle with the Confectioner’s sugar, if using.

Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.  

Notes:
 A regular 9 inch cake pan can be used for this recipe.

 

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