This is a great example of older generations passing on their knowledge and experience to the younger generation. My grandma makes a delicious plum cake. Recently she picked about three million (this is an exaggeration it was more like 1 million) plums from the plum trees at my childhood church. She gave a sack and the recipe for said cake to me, my mom, and my aunt at my cousin and uncle’s birthday party.
Coincidentally, I needed to bring a dessert to my Rangeland Ecology Club meeting that week and I was stoked to get a chance to bring this dish.
I got out my food processor, added 1/2 cup sugar, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon lemon peel.
So I pulsed that into a soft dough, just like the recipe said. I removed this dough and pressed it into a buttered baking dish.
Then I washed all the plums…
Cut them in half, took out the pit and pressed the cut side into the dough, cut side down. I fit as many in as possible, as the recipe tells me too.
All of that was perfect… but that’s the end to that. Here’s where everything went wrong…
The recipe my grandma gave me says
1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon”
Do you see why I was confused? Does this mean 1 cup sugar? Did she write that twice by accident? I decided that the second 1/2 cup sugar was mistakenly added twice. (I was wrong, as you will see).
So I went along, mixed together the 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 sup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
And I sprinkled it over the plums in the baking pan. I remember thinking to myself, this looks very dry. I had experience once with a cobbler in which the topping didn’t mix well enough with the butter so I had a floury substance left on the top. Gross! But I figured the plums were juicy so they must contribute the liquid that moistens the topping. Again how wrong I was.
It was not brown, it was still white. Bubbly and juicy were covered. I thought at this point something is wrong. So I sprinkled some water over the still dry flour parts (I have no idea what drove me to do this). I ended up with a gel type top over a pastry base.
I took it to the Range Club meeting (I cannot believe I served this to the general public) and though it looked gross (not as gross as this picture shows, but still gross), Range Club people are a nice group and they ate it. The whole thing was gone by the end of the meeting. I managed to get a small piece and it actually had a quite good flavor. So now that I’ve talked it up a bit I will show you a picture of it. Please don’t laugh…
Oh gosh, it looks worse every time I look at it. If I didn’t know what this was I probably would not have eaten it. Like I said, Range Club people are a nice group.
So now I will tell you what I did wrong, (some of you probably already know).
I told you my grandma gave the recipe and a bag of plums to my mom as well. I was visiting her this weekend while my dad was out of town. She made the plum cake too. I was watching her make it to try to figure out my mistake. Right before she put it in the oven I said to her, “mine didn’t look like that.”
She turned to me and said, “Oh, did you see what the recipe said? There’s a typo.”
I said, “Ya I saw that, but I just ignored the second sugar.”
She laughed a little, “It’s a standard strudel recipe, one of the sugars was supposed to say butter.”
So it was BUTTER! Of course, I even thought of that while I was thoroughly messing up my plum cake. Here’s what it was supposed to look like.