Sunday, July 22, 2012

Santa Rosa Plum Coffecake

I am wading through plums, and I am starting to feel more and more like a fool.  Like many novice fruit pickers, I struggle with the eternal question: Is this fruit ripe yet? Last year I made several blunders, picking apples, plums, and Asian pears too early, then wondering why the texture was off, or the taste was sooooo sour.

Sour was the word to describe our Santa Rosa plums, which I had been picking too early every year in the past. Naturally tart, this type of plum should have a yellow flesh and dark purple skin when fully ready to eat. I learned this year to be patient and not mind losing a few plums to the birds, rather than picking them too early.  We got a lovely haul of ripe plums as a result, enough to share with a friend, and enough to get me scratching my head as to what to make with all of this fruit!

I picked my first batch of plums at night to avoid the terrible heat of the day, so when I got home, the first thing that came to mind was breakfast. So I dusted off my old red-and-white checkered Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that I've used for years, and turned to my trusty old recipe for fruit coffeecake.

This recipe will work with many kinds of fruit and (I believe) any kind of flour. I prefer to use a mixture of whole grain flours, like whole wheat pastry, oat and spelt flours. No matter what fruit or flour I choose, this basic recipes has always worked well for me over the years. The original recipe calls for a streusel topping, but.... I tend to believe that breakfast should have nutritional value and go easy on the sugar. I just sprinkle the top with a little coarse/turbinado sugar for texture. Leftovers freeze well. Dig in!

Fruit Coffeecake

1.5 c. chopped plums (or any stone fruit, berries, apples, etc.)
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1.5 c. flour of your choice
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. canola oil (or other neutral oil)
1 beaten egg
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Coarse sugar

In a medium saucepan combine fruit and water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until fruit is tender. Combine the 1/4 c. sugar and cornstarch; stir into fruit. Cook and stir over medium heat till mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Spread half of the batter into an ungreased 8x8 baking pan. Spread fruit mixture over batter. Drop remaining batter in small mounds stop filling. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake in a 350 oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Makes 9 servings.


  1. I love plums and all manner of plum cakes. This one is going on my "to-be-tried" list. Thanks.

  2. The Santa Rosa plum is my favorite. I bet this cake was delicious. Enjoy your harvest.


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