Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Plum Cakes.....A cookbook for Jenn

A Peace Offering........

Normally, I would be apologizing at this point. No posts or recipes for an entire month!

You're thinking..."Isn't this one of the busiest seasons for celebrations and food fanatics everywhere?"

Yes, it is.

AND the marvelous part is...this slacker, none-recipe-posting,local-food-pushing-chef, has been so busy during this economically stressed season, I have not had time to unpack my knife roll.

Great things are happening, which all boils down to: I am one lucky cook...

Jenn (and Dave) you won Martha Stewart's "Cooking School"!  I realize you both are great cooks but maybe it might come in handy. Congratulations!

(My camera is MIA, these photos were taken with my IPhone)

Over the summer, many of you may recall, I encouraged you to buy cases of plums at the end of the season to freeze and/or preserve in Vodka. I recall several of my weekly visitors took me up on the "preserved plums in Vodka" idea, (a handful of you had no interest in the fruit, but boy did your eyes light up about the Vodka!). This recipe is for you.


Christmas Plum Cakes
1 cup, plus 1 TBL flour
1/4 cup white cornmeal
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
14 TBL unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup, plus 2 TBL sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
10-12 preserved plums, pitted and chopped
2 TBL plum Vodka
1 tsp. Vanilla
Powder sugar for dusting
*Plum Vodka soaking syrup (optional), recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour (2) 3 cup ring molds (European round molds) or 1 bundt pan; or 6 mini bundt pans; or (12) 1/2 cup muffin tins.

Combine Flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda and set aside

Beat butter with a mixer until the butter is light and fluffy. Add sugar, and beat for an additional 4-5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until each one is completely incorporated.  Add plum vodka and vanilla

Next, add the dry ingredients to the batter; the mixture will be thick. Finally, STIR in chopped plums. Distribute batter into prepared pan(s) and place on the middle rack of oven.

Bake the cakes until they are brown and a toothpick inserted into each, comes out clean.  *Optional:  When  cake is still hot, drizzle half of the syrup over tops of cakes. Cool for 5 minutes, then invert cake onto a cooling rack and drizzle remaining syrup over each cake.

Once cooled, dust with powder sugar and wrap cakes tightly with plastic wrap.

Cooking times:
Muffin tin: 18-22 minutes
mini Bundt pans: 26-30 minutes
(2) 3-cup ring molds : 45-50 minutes
1 Bundt pan: 45-60 minutes (depending on pan and oven)

*Plum Vodka Soaking Syrup

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plum vodka
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vodka (for really boozy cakes)

Combine sugar and vodka in a small sauce pan over medium heat (caution: do not turn on gas burners until you have combined the alcohol and sugar).  Heat gently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Continue to heat syrup for an additional 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside for later use.

CHEF'S NOTES:  **This cake has a coarse texture and is rather mild in flavor (unless you opt for the 'boozy' addition). Personally, with all the holiday's over-the-top sweets, this little cake is a nice reprieve.  I like this at tea time. 
**The plum vodka can be used in Martini's or as an addition to sangria ( I am thinking, New Years Day Brunch!?).

To my family and Friends, Merry Christmas.
To everyone else, Happy Holidays!

Chef Deb T.