Dancing with Sugar Plums: visions for a golden plum cake from dreamland

By • August 2, 2010 41 Comments

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Author Notes: Oh no: I am dreaming in plums. I woke up this morning with this idea for a golden plum cake made with saffron, lemon and almonds in my head. Since I was plum out of plums, I had to visit our local fruit market first thing this morning. And they had mini golden sweet plums just in from a local farmer: Irresistible. Ripe plums work best with this recipe. I am continuing to test drive my new crust recipe, which is really easy and really delicious. I think Arrowhead Mills Baking Mix is like the Bisquik of the gluten free market. I can't believe how easy and good this recipe is! My grandmother would have sifted confectionery sugar on top: just like fairy dust, I used to think.In her honor I have done the same. I was also thinking of trying this recipe with Dutch cocoa and walnuts, but so far that has turned out to be a nightmare. For interest I uploaded one photo, which looks innocent enough...but the taste was very bitter. Another time I will work on that further. For now, serving the golden plum cake slightly warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar and a side of vanilla ice cream is my dream come true.Sagegreen

Serves 4-6


  • 1 1/8 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (Arrowhead Mills baking mix) If you are not interested in the gluten free option, you can use an organic pastry flour instead
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt (fage)
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yoke of egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger


  • 1 3/4-2 cups sweet golden plums, sliced thinly and depitted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 whole eggs, beaten (depending upon how "custardy" you like)
  • 4-6 ounces organic cane sugar (depending upon sweetness of plums)
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron stamens
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine zest of fresh lemon
  • 2 drops of almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon plum brandy or amaretto
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
  • sprinkle of demerara sugar and fresh nutmeg
  • 1 ounce toasted almonds
  • ice cream, whipped cream and/or sprinkle of confectionery sugar for final touches
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grind the almonds in a coffee grinder.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together for the bottom .
  3. Next mix in the yogurt.
  4. Add the oil one spoonful at a time.
  5. Add the yoke and spices. The mixture will consolidate quickly and remain crumbly-looking.
  6. Press this mix into your baking dish (@10") with an even pressure so the dough is thin (about 1/4" or even a bit less than that). Create walls that are 1 " tall. You can work quickly with this dough because it is so easy to work with, I find.
  7. Crimp the top of the wall with your favorite technique. I pinch a pattern with my thumb and forefinger. You can set this shell aside (even chill and use the next day).
  8. Sugar the plums with 3-4 tbl. organic cane sugar (depending upon their sweetness), a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  9. Whisk the cream and eggs together for the filling. If you want a more custard-like filling, use two full eggs. If not, use just one egg.
  10. Add the remaining cane sugar, saffron, almond extract, zest, juice, and brandy to the cream.
  11. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture into the shell. Arrange your plums on top. Pour in the remaining cream to fill the shell. Do not overfill.
  12. Top with toasted almonds, cinnamon and a sprinkle of demerara sugar and fresh nutmeg.
  13. Bake @25-30 minutes until golden brown and set even in the middle. Let cool for several hours or overnight so the filling sets further.
  14. Sift powdered sugar on top just before serving (slightly warm) with ice cream or whipped cream, listen to the Nutcracker, and savor every magical bite.

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