With spring in full swing and summer coming, desserts featuring fresh fruit are deliciously adored when brought to the table. Our favorite fresh fruit right now is the lemon plum, and we’ve got a lemon plum skillet cake, inspired by She Wears Many Hats, that will have you looking far and wide for this darling of a plum.
First, let’s talk dessert. Mouthwateringly moist, sweetly delicious, and wonderfully fragrant, this plum skillet cake comes out of the oven looking like a delectable work of art.
Thin caramelized slices of plum are circularly fanned over a scrumptiously tender cake exuding hints of orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, and almond. Even more exciting, this eye-catching cake is gloriously baked in a cast iron skillet. Serve your warm skillet cake with a container of vanilla ice cream and your dessert-hungry guests will be fighting each other for the first bite.
Though impressive in presentation and arousing in taste, making a plum skillet cake is quite the easy affair. Start by whisking your basic dry ingredients together and set aside. Nothing to it, right? Then, in a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream your butter, sugar, orange zest, a bit of liquor (if using), and spices until smooth. Beat in eggs and almond extract.
Alternate your ingredients to combine
Now, add the dry ingredients and sour cream, alternating between the two, lightly blending after each addition. Did you read the part about alternating? Resist the temptation to just dump all of the dry ingredients and sour cream into the mixing bowl. Alternating these final ingredients is the key to a perfectly moist and tender cake.
If you add all of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, it will cause the batter to get really thick. Then, if you add all of the sour cream, it can saturate the creamed butter mixture, which cannot absorb a lot of liquid at once, and cause it to separate. So that means when you then add all of the dry ingredients, you’ll be left with a heavy batter and, worse, a tough, dense cake. Bottom line: Alternate the dry ingredients and sour cream, lightly blending after each addition.
Pour the luscious cake batter into a well-buttered cast iron skillet. Fan the thin lemon plum slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Slide the skillet in the oven and, within the hour, you’ll be swooning over the lovely baked fragrance wafting through your house and drooling over the beauty of a cake you just baked.
Now, about the lemon plum itself. Never heard of it? It’s a yummy lemon-shaped plum imported from Chile that is available in spring. The distinguishing characteristic of this fruit is its shape and its bright yellow outside. If they’re in season, you can find lemon plums in the specialty produce section at the market. But don’t worry if you can’t find them — if lemon plums are unavailable, you can simply swap in another variety of plum or pluot.
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, divided
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or Cointreau (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 to 5 lemon plums halved, pitted, sliced thin
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set mixture aside.
In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 6 tablespoons of softened butter, granulated sugar, orange zest, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, cinnamon and ginger. Blend on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the batter is smooth.
Add eggs and almond extract. Mix for another minute on medium speed, stopping at least once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Alternating between the two, gradually add flour mixture and sour cream to batter mixture. Mix until just combined.
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.
Spread batter evenly in the greased skillet. Smooth out the top.
Arrange plum slices in a circular pattern on top of the cake batter.
Sprinkle the top evenly with brown sugar.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove cake from the oven and set aside to cool in the skillet for 15 minutes.
Slice and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.