Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Buttermilk Plum Cake

Buttermilk Plum Cake

It sounds a bit weird to me making, and even more publishing on the blog, the recipe for a plum cake in the middle of the winter season! Because in my mind plums are a summer fruit; and they are a summer fruit. As I prefer locally grown foods, especially vegetables and fruits, I am not inclined to buy products if they are not in season. But unfortunately weather and soil conditions here are unfavorable for fruits production, with the exception of few varieties (on the contrary many vegetables can be farmed, so there is a very good availability of fresh, local veggies, that I love to take from The Farmer Market on the Terrace where it is possible to buy organic products directly from the farmers). As almost any variety of fruit is imported, I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't make such a big difference buying apples, pears and oranges from Italy or Spain, when it's winter, rather than plums and peaches from South Africa or New Zeeland, where at the same time of the year it's summer (well, actually, New Zeeland is a bit faraway, that means longer travel, higher cost, bigger impact on the environment).
As a consequence of this, while in Italy in January I would have made an apple cake, here in Dubai I made a plum cake, a wholesome, simple plum cake perfect for breakfast and afternoon tea. It can also be served, lightly warmed and with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, as a light dessert at the end of a meal.
It is an healthy and light sweet baked good, as it is made with whole-wheat flour, unrefined cane sugar (in limited quantity) and buttermilk, which gives moisture to the cake and adds a very pleasant sour flavor. I find that laban (an Arab beverage of fermented milk) is a very good substitute for buttermilk, but if either buttermilk or laban are not easily available it is possible to prepare a homemade buttermilk adding one tablespoon fresh lemon juice to 250 ml milk.
Buttermilk Plum Cake

Buttermilk Plum Cake
makes one 20 cm Æ cake  
40 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating pan
240 g whole-wheat flour
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
65 g fine-grain natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 small eggs
285 ml buttermilk or laban (see note below)
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
4 ripe plums, cut into 1 cm slices
2 tablespoons turbinado or demerara sugar
Preheat oven to 200 ° C (400°F). Butter nad line with parchment paper a cake pan of 20 cm diameter (or butter and flour). Whisk flour, baking powder, cane sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and buttermilk. Whisk in the melted butter and lemon zest. Add butter-and-buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir gently until just combined (do not over-mix).
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Arrange plums nicely on the top. Sprinkle with turbinado or demerara sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake has set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Laban, a fermented milk very popular in the Midlle East, is a good substitute for buttermilk. Alternatively it is possible to make homemade buttermilk: add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to 250 ml milk, stir and let sit 10 minutes before using as requested in the recipe.


  1. Like the idea of buttermilk in a cake (I usually use laban too). Baking is the only thing fit for the plums we get here I think.

    1. Your right Sally, plums here are not that good...but okay for baking. And buttermilk (or laban) gives a lightly sour taste that I find really pleasant in cakes.

  2. Nice plum cake. Buy plum cake or other delicious cake from monginis shop or you can make at home with simple recipe.