Let’s shoot some bears and make this Italian plum cake!

I guess I shouldn’t have sold the hide before I shot the bear.

Oh sorry! No please, read on. It’s not going to be brutal at all. It’s about a very good Italian plum cake and the weird way we Dutch express ourselves.

“Next time we’ll do things different!” I sighted and knew he was right. Mr. Eats usually has great ideas. “We’ll wrap up the bastard in time and help it save.”, he continued.

In early spring our young plum-tree blossomed in abundance. After having grown only one plum in the our first summer and two in the next  this was promising.

Very promising.

I already started to think about all the things I could make with my homegrown plums. Jams, of course. All kinds of cakes. But most of all I looked forward to savor them. The sweet juicy, picked when they’re at their best, fruits that are incomparable to the ones you buy at the store.

Then we decided to move. We digged up the plum-tree and gave it a bright sunny spot in our new garden. All leaves fell off and I cringed a bit.

Noooooh!!! Not again!?

But like any plant, our little plum-tree thrived by all the sun and the buckets of water I gave it. It has new leaves and grows bigger and bigger every day. In early spring we will try to protect the blossom from the sturdy winds and hope for the best. The best, the juiciest, the sweetest plums I’ve ever tasted.

But I’ve learned not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched, as I’ve learned to say in English.

And for now?

For now I’m happy that my new neighbors grow plums too and have two big branches hanging over the fence. To celebrate Summer I remade this Italian plum cake that became a monster hit on my former Dutch food blog. I actually cooked it on my Cobb grill (a pic!), but I’ll give you the recipe for the oven instead.

Recipe Italian plum cake - plum illustration by EDIE EATS food blog by Edith Dourleijn

Italian plum cake

I stole this recipe from Tessa Kiros’ book Twelve (2005), in which she describes how the different months in Tuscany inspire her cooking throughout the year. If you use store-bought plums for this Italian plum cake and they’re not really sweet, you can sprinkle them with some extra sugar and let stand in a colander for about 10 minutes. Yes, you can drink the juices that they’ll release.

I used:
8-12 (about 900 g | 2 lb) ripe plums
150 g | 1 stick + 2 1/2 tablespoon butter + extra
3 eggs
150 g | 3/4 cup sugar + extra
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250 g | 2 cups flour
1,5 teaspoon baking powder
1,2 dl | 1/2 cup milk

extra: round cake form of 9 in | 23 cm.

Tip: Play with the recipe by using other kinds of fruits, like nectarines, peaches and all kinds of berries. Hard fruits like pears and apples best can be poached or baked in butter till soft first.

I did:
Prepare. Preheat the oven at 180 C | 350 F. Grease a round cake form. Melt the butter.

Prepare the fruits. Wash the plums, half them and remove the pit. Cut into smaller pieces, I usually cut them in 6 or 8 parts, depending on how big they are. Sprinkle with sugar if needed (see above).

Mix the eggs, with sugar and vanilla essence till foamy (a hand mixer works great here).

Mix flour and baking powder using a whisk and mix into the eggs. With a flexible spatula fold in melted butter and milk as well.

Layer the cake. Cover the bottom of the cake pan with the batter. Divide about three-quarter of the plums over the batter. Pour in the rest of the batter and garnish with the last plum pieces. Gently press them a bit into the batter. Sprinkle with some extra sugar.

Bake the Italian plum cake for about an hour in the oven.

Let cool and enjoy!


4 Replies to “Let’s shoot some bears and make this Italian plum cake!

  1. Edie, I love these Dutch sayings – I like to think they provide some insight into your native tongue, but I don’t quite know what those are at the moment. 🙂 And what a beautiful & simple recipe, I’m going to have to try it out soon!

    1. Thanks Alexandra! I’ve got quite a few more for you! 😉
      It’s really weird we use this expression as we don’t have any bears in the Netherlands. So my guess it comes from the time we settled New Amsterdam and shoot some bears on this side of the ocean. Oh, I’ve looked it up, the very first settlers were trading beaver pelts with the natives. Well, that’s almost a bear right? 😉

Join the cooking!