As a kid I lived on Drakes Coffee Cakes. I ate them for breakfast, snacks, and, if I could get away with it, lunch. It's
been a while since I've had coffee cake, so when I came across this
recipe while searching for a dinner dish, and saw that I had three
plums sitting on my counter -- the exact number the recipe called for
-- it seemed serendipitous. It's a great recipe: the cake came out perfectly moist and the
cardamom and plums added an interesting twist.
From Fine Cooking, July 2008
For the Streusel:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
A pinch of ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted; more as needed
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; more softened for the pan
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
2 large eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 firm-ripe medium plums, each pitted and quartered
Make the streusel: Put the flour, sugar, kosher salt, and cardamom in a small mixing bowl and stir ingredients with a fork until thoroughly combined. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and stir with the fork until the mixture resembles a clumpy dough. Using your fingers, break the mixture into pistachio-size clumps and large crumbs. (If the struesel is sandy and won't clump, add a little more melted butter, 1 tsp at a time.) Refrigerate the struesel while you prepare the cake batter.
Make the cake: Position a rack in the center of an oven preheated to 375 degrees. Lightly butter and flour an 8x8x2-inch straight-sided cake pan (I used different pans; see photo). Beat the eggs lightly in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla until well blended. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, table salt, and cardamom until well blended. Add the butter pieces to the bowl and cut them into the flour with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a very coarse meal strewn with pieces of butter the size of small peas and oat flakes.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. With the wooden spoon, fold and stir the ingredients together until it's a thick batter speckled with visible lumps of butter, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Break up the streusel mixture with your fingers and sprinkle half of it evenly over the batter. Arrange plum quarters skin side down on the batter with each piece at a 45-degree angle to the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining streusel evenly over the cake.
Bake the cake for 20 minutes and then rotate the pan. Continue baking until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, probably about 15 to 20 more.
Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for at least an hour before cutting. Serve warm or at room temp.