Let's Make Spiced Plum Cake! | IFCJ
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Let's Make Spiced Plum Cake!

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Yesterday was both Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and the first day of fall. Both are great reasons to enjoy this yummy spiced plum cake.

The arrival of autumn marks the prime season for plums. And non-dairy cakes like this are popular part of a special meal to break the 25-hour fast for Yom Kippur (since Jews don’t eat both meat and dairy in one meal). The plums also pair nicely with the traditional wish for a sweet new year, asRosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) was just last week.

Whatever your motivation for trying this recipe, we hope you enjoy it! 

You’ll need a 9-inch cake pan with high sides (at least 2 inches), or you can use a springform pan. The cake can be covered and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.


  • ½ cup flavorless oil, such as canola, plus more for greasing the pan (may substitute butter for greasing the pan)
  • 1 cup flour, plus more for the pan
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 9 to 11 Italian plums, preferably small, halved and pitted (scant 1 pound total)
  • ¼ cup honey, for glazing


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a little oil to grease the pan well, then dust the interior with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, aluminum foil, or a silicone liner.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, Chinese five-spice powder, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium bowl.

Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is smooth, then whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour in the oil, whisking until the batter is shiny and homogenous. Add the flour mixture all at once, whisking until thoroughly blended. Pour the batter into the pan.

Arrange the plums, cut side down, on the batter in whatever pattern you like.

Bake the cake (middle rack) for 23 to 26 minutes or until it is golden brown, slightly springy to the touch, and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan; a bamboo skewer or other tester inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire cooling rack; cool for 5 minutes, then run a table knife around the edges of the pan and carefully unmold the cake; position it top/plum side up on another rack. (If you’ve used a springform, simply remove the sides of the pan.)

Put a piece of parchment paper or foil under the cooling rack (to catch drips) and have a pastry brush at hand.

When the cake is unmolded, begin the glaze. Place a wide skillet over medium-high heat, pour in the honey and boil for no more than 1 minute, just until the honey colors lightly. Remove from the heat; use a pastry brush to gently spread the boiled honey over the surface of the cake. A light touch is important here because the cake is tender.

Allow the cake to rest until it is only just warm or reaches room temperature before cutting and serving.

Makes 10 servings.

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