This day is one of my favorites; every year I am eager for it; I count the days and press for August to come quickly. Then one, two, three, four, five days and here we are.
The funny thing about being so deeply-in-love-married-to-your-best-friend, is that you anticipate his birthday far more than you look forward to your own. There is so much joy in making a day special for him, even if it only consists of notes left on kitchen counters and sweet texts throughout the day; tiny presents shipped from his favorite place and cakes baked in the late afternoon light.
This year is a year for plum cake.
In years past, we have celebrated with fruit pie and honey cake. Then last year was the soggy mess of a clementine cake a la The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that can only be described as a superb birthday failure. So this year, playing it safe, he settled on a simple plum cake. Simple but decadent; all buttery, golden crumbs and juicy, red fruit.
So, Happy Birthday, ZBR. You're great; I think I'll keep you. xo
This recipe is taken directly from Smitten Kitchen and is wonderful just the way it is. I deviated from her instructions to use purple Italian plums because red and yellow ones were at our market, but other wise the recipe remains the same.
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 to 2 tablespoon (depending on sweetness of plums)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
12 smallish purple Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon or tablespoon ground cinnamon
Heat over to 350°F. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Spoon batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it. Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.
Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake comes out free of batter (but of course not plum juice), about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on rack. Try not to eat all at once. This will be a challenge. Be warned.