By Mardi Michels

Just this past summer I discovered the joys of canning and preserving, a wonderful way to make the most of the short-lived season for some of my favourite fruits: apricots, cherries and plums.

While it’s lovely to be able to enjoy the taste of summer in the dead of winter through jams and jellies, there’s nothing quite like enjoying fruit at the height of its season. At the market I can sometimes be a little over-enthusiastic in estimating the amount of fruit I can use. After a few days I find myself racking my brains for ways to use up the abundance of fruit in my kitchen when it’s not quite enough for a small batch of preserves or jam.

The answer? Cake. (Let’s face it, there aren’t many situations when cake isn’t the answer!) And with this recipe—a simple butter cake studded with jewel-like, juicy summer plums—there’s nothing better.

Nana Russell’s Plum Cake, Courtesy of Mardi Michels, eatlivetravelwrite.com, Toronto

This simple, summery cake highlights the beauty and flavour of plums.

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Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients
2 oz (60 g) butter, at room temperature
4 oz (112 g) sugar
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
6 oz (170 g) self-raising cake and pastry flour
¼ cup (50 mL) milk
5 to 6 plums, halved and pitted
granulated sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). Butter and flour 8-inch (2 L) square cake pan.
2. Cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest. Add eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition.
3. With wooden spoon, stir in half the flour. Gradually stir in half the milk, mixing until just combined. Stir in remaining flour, then remaining milk. Mix until well combined.
4. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Place plum halves, cut side up, on top of cake batter. Sprinkle plums with sugar.
5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the cake is golden brown on top. Serve warm.

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Eat. live. travel. write.
Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher to elementary school–aged boys. She writes eat. live. travel. write, a blog about culinary adventures near and far. She also runs twice-weekly cooking classes for seven- to 13-year-old boys and teaches cooking and baking classes for adults. She was one of the founding members of Food Bloggers of Canada, is a Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto and contributes to jamieoliver.com.