To kick off this year’s Eat Local Challenge, here’s a recipe for ginger plum cake that can be made from mostly local ingredients, if you’re so inclined. I used prune plums from Autumn Hills Orchard and ginger from a plant my father-in-law gave me, which he propagated from regular supermarket ginger, don’t ask me how. He gave me that plant way back in June and I was sure I would kill it, but somehow I didn’t, even though I killed half of my herbs, including the mint. (Yes, that’s right, I can kill mint—a very useful skill if you ask me.)
Unlike last year with the apple cake, I’m not going to insist that you use a cast iron pan. A regular cake pan will suffice. I’m trying to be a bit more flexible these days, like that time over the summer when Husband came home from the store with 500 bags of chip-like snacks, and I blurted out, “Jesus Christ, I’m not even in the grave, yet!”
Ginger Plum Cake
Any extra plums that don’t fit in your carefully crafted concentric circles can be peeled, chopped, and added to the cake batter.
¼ cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar (or maple sugar or syrup)
2 cups thinly sliced plums (or 1 pint prune plums)
1 cup flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar (or maple sugar)
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup milk
Preheat oven to 375°F. For the topping, melt ¼ cup butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and pour into a 9-inch cake pan. Arrange sliced plums in a circular pattern on top.
For the cake, sift flour and baking powder together in medium bowl. With a stand mixer or electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add egg, ginger, and vanilla until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and mix until just blended. Pour over the plums and spread evenly.
Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Loosen edges with narrow spatula. Set a serving plate upside down on top of cake and flip them so the cake inverts onto the plate. Serve with vanilla or buttermilk ice cream if desired.
Butter: Cabot, Cabot, VT
Maple sugar: Highland Sugarworks, Websterville, VT
Plums: Autumn Hills Orchard, Groton, MA
Egg: Chip-In Farm, Bedford, MA