When it comes to the bounty of desserts you can make with late fall fruit, plums are a perennial favorite. Besides their lovely sweet and tart flavor, they’re abundant in the summer and come in many varieties. Red or black plums provide a nice counterpoint to this slightly coarse, lemony-flavored corn cake. To prepare them, simply remove their pits and arrange slices on top of the batter. They’ll sink in during baking and create a moist and colorful layer in the cake. Serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Plum Cornmeal Cake
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 pound firm black or red plums
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In another medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest and juice. Continue to mix until blended.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread the batter to the edges.
5. Pit and slice the plums into 1/2-inch wedges. Arrange on top of the batter and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
6. Let cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into wedges and serve.