A Lovely Slice of Plum Cake

It’s about time for another cookbook recommendation and you’re gonna love this one. Helen over at Tartelette recently mentioned a book called Sweet Seasons by Richard Leach. Because I loved the recipe Tartelette chose for her post ( A Ricotta Cheese Tart in a Strudel Ring... which I am going to make as soon as I can find my pastry rings....) I went directly to Amazon, found the cookbook, bought it used and have been drooling on its pages ever since.

I bet I marked 7 or 8 recipes…. talk about impossible to choose which one to tackle first! But plums are a favorite so I decided to give the Plum Cake with Jasmine Ice Cream a try.

I think the great thing about this cookbook is you can make any part of the whole; Leach’s beautifully presented desserts have many components and the Plum cake was no exception.

Most of us aren’t pastry chefs, so it’s really not necessary to make the entire dessert. Just pick the main part- or any part you can’t resist. I ended up making just the plum cake portion. It turned out beautifully, tasted divine and was as pretty as the photo in the book. Nearly.

This was the first time I had ever used semolina flour in a cake recipe but it definitely makes the cake light and tender with just a bit of heartiness. I found it at Whole Foods Market although I imagine most health food stores would carry it. My regular supermarket, however, did not. And you could skip the making the ice cream if you want and just buy some vanilla. But I have to admit the Jasmine Ice Cream was just the right touch.

So….I picked a winner from Sweet Seasons on my first attempt. (Or more likely, they are all winners.) Hang in there- it looks complicated, but it’s not.

Warm Plum Cake with Jasmine Ice Cream
(Adapted from Sweet Seasons by Richard Leach)

For the Cake

1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
4 egg whites
1 cup milk
grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 red plums, pitted and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 350° and butter and flour a 9” by 3” loaf pan. Mix all the ingredients except the butter and plums in a mixer until blended. Add the butter and plums and pour into the loaf pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown, firm to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean. (It took mine slightly longer than this.)Unmold the cake and allow to cool. When ready to serve, cut into slices and reheat in a 325° oven for a couple minutes.

For the roasted plums:

10 ripe plums
1 ½ cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 250°. Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the sugar. Place the plums, cut side down, on the sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn the plums over and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove the plums, cool slightly and remove the skin. Set aside. ( I left the skin on a couple to use for garnishing the cake.)

For the Plum and Orange Sauce:

5 plums, pitted and cut into eighths
½ cup water
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
zest of ½ an orange

Combine ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Strain, cool and set aside.

For the Jasmine Ice Cream:

4 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup jasmine tea
zest of one orange
12 egg yolks

Place the cream, milk, sugar, tea and orange zest in a pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil. Meantime, beat the egg yolks in a bowl . In one motion, pour and whisk the cream mixture into the egg yolks. Strain, chill and then process according to your machine’s instructions.

To Assemble the Dessert:
Place some of the plum and orange sauce on a plate. Top with 2 roasted plum halves and then the warmed slice of plum cake on top of the plums. Cut one of the plum halves in slices for garnish. Serve with a spoonful of the Jasmine Ice Cream.
Serves 8.


  1. ya know what? i've never had a plum-centric dessert. this looks absolutely LOVELY though, and i know i'd love it. it's so moist and pretty with the hunks o' plum. very nice!

  2. I'd take a slice right now if I could!



Related Posts with Thumbnails