Plum cake

I normally don’t count food as being my “something creative” for the day, but I am making an exception for this. I don’t bake. I can open a box of cake mix, add an egg and get a reasonable result, but I don’t bake cakes from scratch. My Mother-in-Law was horrified when she found out I used boxed cake mixes. She’s been gone for 10 years now, and I still feel a pang of guilt that there are cake mixes in my pantry.

She was known for her plum cake. For years after she was gone, no one could find the recipe, then we discovered she had given it to her niece who sent me a copy. That recipe is dated 2009. This past weekend, I found some of the small oval plums you are supposed to use in this cake and bought them from a farm stand. They are the plums I remember from my childhood, and now most stores only carry the large round ones.

Looking at the recipe I had a moment of panic. It called for yeast and scalded milk. This was serious baking from scratch. But I started in during the middle of the afternoon. The yeast was bubbling, the milk scalded, everything in step one was combined. It was at that point I realized I had neglected to realize the dough needed to rise for 90  minutes. I was too far along to stop, so I covered the bowl, set it on the stove and took a 90 minute break.

This is a cake that is not so much baked as constructed. It has a layer of the batter (nicely risen after 90 minutes), then a layer of plums. A layer of butter and cinnamon sugar, and a layer of streusel topping.It then has to rise another 30 minutes.  But wait! It is not done yet. It gets baked for 25 minutes, removed from the oven, then a layer of custard gets poured over the top for the final 15 minutes of baking.

All in all a three-hour+ process. To make a cake. But it is more than a cake, it is a memory of my Mother-in-Law.

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