Do you have a rush hour hobby? As contradictory as the words ‘rush hour’ and ‘hobby’ sound when put together, a ‘rush hour hobby' is perhaps the shred of sanity one can hold on to considering that the only thing that seems to be in a rush at that hour is one’s anxiety to get to work on time. The languid pace of the traffic and train delays seem to have a mind of their own. And what if you are driving yourself? I quote the words of the wise- “May the force be with you!”
I’ve tried watching movies, playing games and reading whilst negotiating with traffic, but lately I’ve been itching to try something new and at the risk of sounding way beyond my years I’ll confess that I’m gravitating towards crochet. The problem is that nobody around me seems to have a clue about crochet. Do you reckon a book could help me get started? Any video podcasts or tutorials? I really need some help to get started!
If you’re wondering how and why I’ve zeroed in on crochet, well, it’s probably its old world charm that appeals to me the most. Its patterns and designs seem so… well… architectural! I can’t wait to ‘build’ something - a scarf, a table runner maybe even a doily! It is the same pursuit of things with an old world charm that led me to this buttermilk cake topped with roasted plums. Rustic in its appeal, this cake is almost reminiscent of something your Grandma would have baked for you.
Juicy, tender plums get roasted the same way they did when paired with Greek Yogurt. That’s right, I love the ‘one ingredient, two desserts’ approach. I’m all for variety. That, and helping you put things together depending on what you have at hand. Simple.
Buttermilk makes this cake glossy and so moist! Since we don’t have the option of buying buttermilk at stores, I like to go with the yogurt and milk combination. 3/4th cup yogurt stirred well with ¼ cup milk gives you a cup full of buttermilk. Voila, you have buttermilk in seconds!
First we get our dry ingredients together in a bowl, and then stir together the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. And then we just add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients. Caution – baking this cake in this manner might remind you of making pancakes. That’s not a bad thing at all, I just want you to know what I did the next morning.
Now for the plummy goodness. Batter gets topped with the roasted plums and let’s not leave out the syrupy juice, get that in too! I went with a removable bottom pan to ease this beautiful cake out when it’s done, you don’t want to try inverting this to get it out of the pan, trust me.
If I have to compare the flavours of this cake to anything at all, it would be to the notes of a perfume – distinct at first, but coming together in the end to form a beautiful whole. The flavours of this cake emerge with hints of sweet and the slight tang of plums, all melting together in the mouth to form a beautiful amalgamation of flavours and textures!
Recipe adapted from here
For the Plums
8 plums, halved and pitted
¼ cup light soft brown sugar
(Baking tray lined with parchment paper)
For the cake
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup castor sugar
1 egg (beaten)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup buttermilk
(Greased parchment paper to line the bottom of the cake tin, a round 8-inch removable bottom one for this recipe)
For the plums:
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Halve the plums and remove the pit. Line the baking tray with the plums, cut side up. Sprinkle with sugar. Place the baking tray in the oven and roast for about 10 to 15 minutes. (Keep an eye on it, tends to burn quickly). Allow the plums to cool.
For the cake
Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and castor sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, beaten egg and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients in one go to the dry ingredients and stir well so that no lumps are formed. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Next, top the cake mixture with the roasted plums and the thickened juice whilst roasting the plums. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on your oven) or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool before opening up the side of the pan. Then, remove the bottom and the parchment.