These pretty purple plum tortes almost didn’t happen. Which would have been a shame, because they’re kind of magical. Mostly it was because I was lazy. Hold on to your hats– you’re about to get an inside look at life as a food blogger.
My thought process went something like this:
Whoa! That plum torte on Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite food blogs) looks amazing! And I have plums! This is fate. But wait- I don’t have eggs! And there’s no way I’m going to the store for one egg…
See? Laziness. So I decided to substitute 1/4 cup vegetable oil for the one egg. DON’T DO IT. It did not work (even though it should and has in the past). Even though I baked and baked and baked these suckers, the batter never firmed up and stayed a soupy mess.
But I have to admit, I did taste test it. And the plums– soft, and sort of molten– were amazing. Confession: I ate the plums out of both ramekins before dumping the now-burnt but somehow still liquid batter. The plums alone were enough to make me get in my car and head to the grocery store. Yes, just for eggs (and a few more plums).
That’s how amazing those plums were.
Then I got home, washed my ramekins, and tried this recipe for a second time. It seemed like magic– the batter was smooth and creamy instead of oily, and puffed up into a soft, spongey cake.
Yes, now I’ve nailed it! Oh wait…
The cake was perfect, light and moist with just enough bite from the cinnamon and nutmeg. But those plums, the ones that had been so soft and magical the first time around… they were hard. Sure, they were still warm. They still tasted plum-y and sweet. But they hadn’t softened and dispersed throughout the cake the way the first ones had. And that was almost as much of a tragedy as not making these tortes at all would have been.
Third time’s a charm!
Yes. I made these three times in one day. That’s how seductive those first plums were. I sliced the plums, hoping that they would cook quicker that way. And you know what? The third time really was a charm. Best of all– laziness did not prevail (and I learned my lesson about easy substitutions- i.e. that they’re not so easy).
The real moral of the story here is that food blogs are awesome. Sure, I’m biased… Forrest and I are trying to get this one off the ground, we’re excited about it and having so much fun cooking and baking and writing and photographing. But right now, I’m realizing the power of food blogs from the reader point of view. Where else can you experience the trial and error process of cooking without dirtying your own dishes and kitchen? I wrote this whole, long post about my process because I hope it gives you a chance to learn from my mistakes– and that it will make what you do in your own kitchen less messy, less frustrating, and more enjoyable.
The second moral of this story is that these plum tortes, when you don’t try to mess with perfection like I did, are quick and easy enough to make three times in one day. But you’ll only have to make them once. And you should.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- dash nutmeg
- 1 purple plum, halved and pitted
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two ramekins.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Add sugar and butter, and mix until well combined.
- Add egg, 1 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth.
- Spoon batter evenly into both ramekins.
- Place plums, skin side up, on top of batter.
- Drizzle with lemon juice, and top with 1 tsp cinnamon and a sprinkling of sugar.
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick or fork inserted into batter comes out clean. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Try to use ripe plums- they should "give" a little when you squeeze them gently. If they are not ripe, slice them before putting them on the batter- it will allow them to cook more fully.