Oh My Heart Plum Cake

I’ve been wholly preoccupied with matters of the heart, literally, and so I’m baking plum cake.

This is beautiful, rich, sweetly bleeding over the top–yet healthy (for cake) plum cake. It has been adapted a couple of times now: little blue hen modified it from Smitten Kitchen, and now I’m adapting it from her,with key changes being taking out the yeast, reducing sugar, and replacing butter with olive oil, resulting in a creation that is a bit more similar to this scrumptious-looking recipe from Cooking Light. And that feels perfectly appropriate, with yesterday’s steamy, pounding afternoon storms hammering alongside epiphanies in my head, including what a blessing it is to be able to lean on the experience of others, even as we forge our own way. Though that is a lot to project onto plum cake.

In case you haven’t already detected the strong scent of self-indulgence, I’ll just let you know this is one of those posts, albeit as sincere as can be. I’ll try to be brief. Though comfortingly cathartic, you are not actually my private diary, Fit and Frugal.

 

Essentially, Dave and I wanted to adopt a little waiting child in China, but discovered we are not the fit he needs. The truth was kindly delivered by a medical angel (my doctor), in the gentlest, most honest and helpful way possible. She understood we had fallen in love with him from afar.

Our would-be little boy has a heart condition more serious than we can provide for just now, one which would be aggravated by the altitude where we live alone. He is precious and adorable, and another family is waiting for him, I know it.

So, back to the other purpose of this post, I’m baking this luscious, fragrant and forgiving plum cake. Because I didn’t expect the mournful sense of loss over something that didn’t happen. And because this one-sided connection across the miles was a gift. Now we have greater clarity as to our heartfelt desires and can pour our intentions  into the universe with real certitude.

Sweet and tart, prone to crumbling yet possessing bounce-back quality, surprising and wonderful. Plum cake.

Upside-down Plum Cake

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used nonfat Greek)
  • 1/3 cup evaporated fat-free milk (or soy, or almond, regular skim, or even orange juice, I’m thinking–I just happened to need to use up some evaporated milk, and we all despise kitchen waste!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (to 2/3 cup to taste) honey
  • Cooking spray
  • Approximately 1 1/2 pounds plums (about 5-6), quartered and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and spices in a medium mixing bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  3. Make a well in the center and add olive oil, yogurt,  milk, vanilla, egg, and honey, gently stirring to combine. Lightly stir to combine milk and flour mixtures.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add plums and raw sugar and heat, stirring approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Spread plums on the bottom of a square baking dish (8 or 9 inch) greased or coated well with cooking spray. Use a spatula to spread cake batter over plums.
  6. Bake at 400° for 30- 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5-10 minutes, then gently run a knife along the edge of the cake. Place a wire rack upside down on top of the cake, invert and finish cooling.
  1. Mary Nodine
    July 11, 2011

    The end of this post is some of the most lovely writing of yours that I have read…and I must make a plum cake since it’s decidedly plum season. Thinking of you guys. 🙂

  2. Jen
    July 25, 2011

    Beautiful and heartfelt expression! You are such a good writer, and so in tune with yourself, Wendy. My heart went out to you when you told me this story and I can see now the full meaning of the heartbreak. I too believe he will find a good home and that your little love will come in time.

    • Wendy McMillan
      July 25, 2011

      Thank you, Jen! I appreciate you very much. : )

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