Monday, November 1, 2010

dimply plum cake: homely but delicious

the famous dimply plum cake

Geeze. If you want a real idea of how infrequently I've been blogging lately, consider this: I baked this cake on September 3th. It is now November 1st, and New York has seen the temperatures dip into the thirties as the days begin to get shorter and shorter. September already seems like long ago, but try to remember to way back then: it was the Friday of Labor Day weekend. The East Coast was prepped for a massive hurricane set to put a major damper on the holiday. I had spent the afternoon at the hospital for my jaw's grand reopening. Though this was very exciting, it was also somewhat of a painful process. The wires had been drilled through my gums to hold the arch bars in place, so pulling them out required lots of novocain and left my gums inflamed and sore.

Even though they had replaced the wires clamping my teeth shut with more forgiving rubber bands a week and a half before, my jaw was still fragile and weak, which precluded me from eating all but the softest foods. Regardless, I was excited to be on the mend and free of the unslightly metal braces for the first time in over 5 weeks. I was looking forward to spending the weekend out on Long Island with Nathan's family and my own, and to putting my injury behind me.

I like to be a good house guest, so I spent that Friday night baking this dimply plum cake for Nathan's step-mom's friends Liz and Harry, who were kind enough to invite us to their home.

smooshed plum cake

I know that is one shockingly ugly cake. I foolishly wrapped it up in foil for easy transit before it cooled, so it steamed in the wrapper and the top turned into an unsightly sticky mess. Of course, we don't eat cake because it looks good– we eat cake because of the way it tastes. This cake, a recipe by Dorie Greenspan, is an internet sensation, so my expectations were high. The cake was less sweet than most, but pleasantly so, and was nice and moist from the large chunks of fruit. I was happy to use so many of my food co-op plums to make it, and I liked the hint of cinnamon flavor. It was a good dessert to usher in fall with the last of summer's stone fruit. Very seasonal, but not actually the most inspiring dessert you've ever eaten.

As luck would have it, the over-hyped Earl stayed off shore and the weather held up beautifully. We went swimming, took a motorboat out to Fire Island and foraged for beach plums on Saturday before heading north to Northport and spending Sunday sailing in the bay with my Dad. As for the food, I obviously missed out on all the grilled steak and corn on the cob at dinner, but Nathan's step-mom Patricia and step-sister Helen made sure there was plenty of soft and juicy salmon for me to enjoy.

Dessert was even easier, as cakes and pies can easily be mashed up into easily swallowed spoonfuls. With my wires gone, eating the same plate of dessert as everyone else, I was finally able to forget about my broken jaw and begin to enjoy food again. Based on taste alone, dimply plum cake may not have been the revelation I hoped for. I imagine that there are other plum based desserts that are just as good, if not better, even if their names aren't as cute. That being said, it was still delicious. Everyone else told me they liked it, but to me, at that point in time, dimply plum cake tasted like hope.

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