Plum Shortcake

I love cooked plums. They’re soft and luscious, sweet and tangy. Pair them with pastry or cake and you have a winner.

This recipe is easy to assemble and requires no fancy equipment (ie: no electric mixers, just a bowl and your hands). The cake part is a shortcake or biscuit that uses baking powder as the leavening agent — typically this sort of shortcake is baked separately from the fruit and then layered with fruit and cream after. This version bakes a layer of plums sandwiched between two layers of cake, allowing the cake to soak up the juices from the plums as it bakes. Delicious as is or taken to the next level served slightly warm with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream.

I love small prune plums and they are perfect in this cake, but I’ve also used black and red plums when the smaller plums aren’t available. You could also switch out the plums for nectarines or peaches and it would be delicious!

Ingredients

  • Cake
    • 15 ounces / 425 grams (3 cups) all purpose flour
    • 5 ounces / 140 grams (10 Tbsp) granulated sugar
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 6 ounces / 170 grams (3/4 cup) cold butter, cubed
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Plums
    • 1 1/2 pounds / 680 grams plums (prune plums cut in half, pit removed, larger plums cut into 6-8 wedges, pit removed)
    • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • Glaze
    • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
    • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

To prepare the cake, use a fork or whisk to combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter, forks or your fingertips to work the butter into the dough. You want the work the butter into pea-size or slightly smaller pieces, but not completely incorporated into the flour.

In a measuring cup combine the vanilla, eggs and heavy cream and use a fork to mix together. Pour into the dry ingredients and use a fork to combine, then  use your hands to gently knead and just bring the dough together. Divide the dough in half and press one half of the dough into a well greased 8″ x 12″ baking dish.

In another mixing bowl, combine the plums, sugar, flour and cinnamon. If I’m using the halved prune plums, I like to arrange the plums in a layer, with the cut-side facing up, covering the first layer of dough. If using sliced plums rather than the halves, just arrange them so they’re in an even layer. Sprinkle any excess sugar/cinnamon/flour evenly over the plums.

You can roll out the rest of the dough for the top, but this is a rustic dessert and I never bother. Instead, take small pieces of the dough and flatten them out in your hand so they’re about 1/4″ thick and place the flattened dough over the plums, piecing them together so they cover the plums (if there are some small gaps, that’s okay too.

Once the dough has all been arranged over the plums, use a brush to lightly cover the dough with the cream (for the glaze) and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, turn and bake another 20-30 minutes or until it’s a deep golden brown and when you insert a skewer into the center of the cake it comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Once completely cool, cover loosely with plastic and it can stay on your counter for a couple of days. Serve on its own or top with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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