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Dimply Plum Cake…When Sophie Read Dorie

Her eyes sparkled when she spotted Dorie's big baking book. "Have you made anything from it yet?" she asked picking it up from the shelf. After a few minutes flipping the pages she exclaimed :"Oh wait! I guess you have, some pages are already glued with sugar!"
Having my god-daughter Sophie over is a lot of fun. She marvels at everything The simplest thing that in my new American have become second nature to me are constant sources of surprises and questions….even baking. She has a keen interest in cooking and baking and is eager to tell me about the cakes she makes in the evening while the rest of the family gathers around and talk. I can tell we share the same blood just by the moments she shares in the kitchen with her mom and other relatives, and by her love of sweets!

She was leafing through the book and her hand stopped on the picture of Dorie’s Dimply Plum Cake. "Oh that looks so good…I need aspirin, let’s go get some plums and make it!"….AND she’s got my logic….any excuse to make a trip to the store if I see something I want to bake! Off we went to the grocery store which was another adventure for her: in France cashiers are seated, there is no bagger and people have to bring their own bags (recycling and minimizing trash).
We looked at all the produce that was somewhat tropical and exotic for her, filled up on loads of cherries (we are truly related!), and a big bag of ripe and juicy plums.
Once home we put some lasagna to warm up and in the meantime we made the cake. Easy, straighforward and within 30 minutes, the house smelled like a bakery again with vanilla and sugar tempting our tastebuds. We could not wait very long once it came out of oven and cut 2 big slices, put some creme fraiche on the side and enjoyed it while looking at the sunset…precious! If I could have hugged Dorie herself for such a sweet moment spent with Sophie, it would have been the icing on the cake!

Dimply Plum Cake, adapted from Dorie Greenspan:

Serves 8

1 1/2 cups all purpose four

2 tsps baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

5 Tb unsalted butter

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/3 cup canola oil

grated zest of one lemon

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger.

In a stand mixer cream the butter with the borwn sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture.

Pour the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrang the plums on top. (Dorie did hers cut side up, I did the opposite). Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes (if you can).

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eatme_delicious August 4, 2007 um 5:17 am

Aw what a great post. You guys are lucky to have each other. 🙂 And the cake looks and sounds delicious. People keep on posting things from that cookbook – I’m really going to have to buy it soon!

Anonymous August 4, 2007 um 6:53 am

Un truc de fou ce plum cake!Mmmmmhhhhhh; j’en perds mon anglais!

Anonymous August 4, 2007 um 8:15 am

It really looks wonderful!!

JT August 4, 2007 um 8:31 am

Our of curiousity, regarding grocery shopping in France – what if you buy a whole cart full of groceries and cannot fit everything into the bag?

Rosa's Yummy Yums August 4, 2007 um 8:33 am

It looks just simply delicious! I bet it tastes also wonderful…

Nora B. August 4, 2007 um 10:48 am

Sophie is lucky to have a god-mother like you and it’s great that you both share the same passion.

That cake looks devine. I’ll have to bookmark this for summer.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) August 4, 2007 um 11:31 am

So much fun to cook together — and of course you will not go wrong cooking anything from Dorie’s book.

Helene August 4, 2007 um 1:06 pm

missy-j: people bring several large bags and baskets

Anonymous August 4, 2007 um 2:14 pm

Je suis sure qu’elle amene un joli rayon de soleil bien de chez nous! Profites-en bien, surtout du regard qu’elle poses sur les choses qu’on prend comme acquises!
Miam pour le gâteau.

Anonymous August 4, 2007 um 3:03 pm

What a lovely story! When my daughters were very little, my wife would arrange baking supplies on the [just cleaned] kitchen floor and have them help her measure and mix. That experience particularly took with the younger daughter. As a teenager now, she’ll occasionally go in the kitchen and whip up a banana bread or something.

Marye August 4, 2007 um 3:53 pm

that sounds delicious….and I think we could use some European methods in our grocery shopping, altho I am not sure I am up for a daily trek to the store.

Brilynn August 4, 2007 um 4:59 pm

That is one smart girl to be picking Dorie recipes!!

Peabody August 4, 2007 um 8:15 pm

Lol at the sugared pages. I have stuck many a page together that way.
Looks simply devine.

Anita August 4, 2007 um 11:03 pm

What a lovely time you’re having Helene! I agree, there’s nothing like Dorie (and a talented god-mother) to instill a love of baking!

florence August 5, 2007 um 12:01 am

i love your blog! just looking at all of the beautiful photos makes me drool 🙂 your creations are fantastic.

Anonymous August 5, 2007 um 2:12 am

How beautiful is this. What a yummy and delicious looking cake.

Kajal@aapplemint August 5, 2007 um 8:52 am

That is one special bond Helen.Make sure u teach that girl all u know.She’ll love you forever!the cake looks delicious .She has good taste.

queencake and titangirl August 5, 2007 um 4:42 pm

hello:o) the cake sound and looks really good and i`d love to make and bake it. problem is, i`m sitting here in germany and if i look up the gram equivalent of a cup on the internet ,i get about 1000 different answers. so i`ll just try it here: how many grams would you say one cup consists of? thanks for your,anja

Kelly-Jane August 5, 2007 um 6:25 pm

A lovely post, I like this kind of spontaneous cooking – it’s such fun, and of course your cake looks fabulous 🙂

Helene August 6, 2007 um 12:11 am

Anja: it depends of course if you are measuring flour or sugar as they don’t weigh the same. 1 cup flour is about 150 gr, and sugar is 200 gr. Hope it helps!

Amy August 6, 2007 um 2:00 am

Aww, my bf’s little sister is back home from college for the summer. She and I have been cooking all summer and she’s always SO enthusiastic about what I’m cooking. It’s so much fun to have her around. This plum cake looks like a real winner to me.

Chris August 6, 2007 um 2:02 am

This is great! I am glad you and your god daughter are enjoying your time together.

I love the cake! Looks perfect for a weekend sweet.

Cookie baker Lynn August 6, 2007 um 2:42 am

How sweet! I’m glad you’re having such a wonderful time with Sophie. She sounds like a treasure.

Lis August 6, 2007 um 11:22 am

Awww such a nice story =) The cake looks amazing!!

And did I tell you about Mama Creampuff’s lasagna? Wasn’t it FANTASTIC?


queencake and titangirl August 6, 2007 um 2:13 pm

dear helene,
thanks very much for your help,i think i will make myself a plum birthday cake on wednesday:-)
all the best from sunny berlin,anja

Anonymous August 6, 2007 um 2:34 pm

This is such a cute story, you cooking with sophie. It’s great having a someone to bake with…the warmth and joy one experiences…and the resulting cake is just the "icing" so to speak.

Patricia Scarpin August 6, 2007 um 5:07 pm

I’m sure Sophie admires and loves her godmother – she’s such a special person, after all! 😉

The cake looks delicious, Helen! I love plums!

Stephanie August 6, 2007 um 5:08 pm

That’s how I know if I’m made a recipe in some cookbook…I just run my hand over the page, and if I feel bumps or sticky spots, well…that’s a pretty good sign!

Dorie’s book is amazing, isn’t it? I haven’t made nearly enough of her recipes, but once the temperature drops again, I imagine I’ll be making my way through!

Deborah August 6, 2007 um 6:43 pm

What fun to have your niece with you! I, too, can tell if I have used a cookbook because there are bits of the recipe left on the pages….

This cake looks like a winner!

Cheryl August 6, 2007 um 8:28 pm

She sounds like a chip off the old block (not calling you old).

Beautiful cake.

breadchick August 6, 2007 um 9:28 pm

It sounds like you are having so much fun with Sophie. I have been looking at the plum cake too ever since I got the book. I think if it is cool this weekend, this is what I’m making!

Anonymous August 6, 2007 um 9:53 pm

Hmmm il a l’air trop bon ce plum cake. Moi aussi j’adore Dorie!

– fanny

Anonymous August 7, 2007 um 3:37 am

I just baked this cake too! It is fabulous, like all of Dorie’s recipes. I am glad Sophie enjoyed it as well!

Anonymous August 8, 2007 um 2:20 pm

This is the most wonderful story –and how lucky you and Sophie are to share these times together. I think it’s moments like these that create memories that last a lifetime. So sweet in every way.

MyKitchenInHalfCups August 8, 2007 um 3:12 pm

I am going to enjoy Sophie’s month with you. It is a wonder to see your everyday world through a new set of eyes!
I did this cake when I first got the book and enjoyed it immensely!

thepassionatecook August 8, 2007 um 8:27 pm

this looks just like what my mum used to make every weekend in the summer… a simple "biscuit" with summer fruits, mostly plums or apricots – i don’t know why I don’t make it more often 😉

Anonymous August 25, 2007 um 7:23 pm

Thanks for this! For some reason the first time I read it I thought it was an almond based batter so when I went to make it…whoops! no worries though, I subbed 1/2 C. of flour for almond meal and the vanilla for almond extract. That is what I call YUM IN A PAN!

Anonymous August 5, 2008 um 4:28 pm

wow, how timely! I just made this cake too. It came out so wonderful. I used lemon extract instead of the vanilla and very ripe plums (except I think I put them on the cake upside down because my top looked different). Anyway this is a keeper and a must serve with fresh whipped cream. YUM!

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