TBL September: Plum Frangipane Cake

The goldsmith gave me a hell of a minute when telling me on the phone that something went wrong with making our wedding bands smaller. What a joke. It was a huge hassle to make them smaller and in the end we payed nothing. So I decided to pay with a smile and a cake. As September is traditional plum season I went for something with plums and a twist. When I flipped through my marked recipes I stumbled upon a recipe in Lecker magazine: Plum Frangipane Cake

To be honest, the first thing I did was looking up what frangipane is: a filling made of almonds, butter, eggs and sugar. The recipe I used needed marzipan instead of ground almonds. The Scone rolls I tried earlier this year were filled with something similar, not calling it frangipane. Seriously, Marzipan cream and Plums? Hell yeah!

I did not follow the instructions of the recipe exactly, as you know every baker has his own way of doing certain things. For instance a classic yeast dough for fruit cakes I always do with the recipe of my Grandma and follow the instructions she gave me. This year I have learned in several courses that not all what Grandma taught me leads to perfect results, but this does not apply for yeast dough. I had my struggles with this kind of dough for quite a while, specifically when I moved into my first flat and had to do it on my own. Until then I’ve never made a yeast dough all by myself, being freaked out by not-rising cakes that were too hard. My Mum always made wonderful fluffy and moist fruit cakes, mine were literally like stone. Yeast went all bitchy on me over and over again, not rising, gummy, rock solid or half raw so I decided to not do it again. Then, 3 years ago I was asked to “donate” cake for the cake sale of my local sports club at Kerb (it’s like a local fair usually in Autumn where I come from and every village or district has its own). I decided to do overcome my difficult relationship with yeast and make an Apple Streusel Cake like my Grandma used to do it. And SCHABANG it went perfectly. Since then yeast and me are buddies again, but I don’t want to spoil the relationship with another recipe. Never change a winning team or a running system…

Okay now, enough history, I promise. So here goes the instructions for the yeast dough. Bring the butter to room temperature. I heat the milk in the microwave and let it chill until it is lukewarm, then I crumble in the yeast and stir it in slowly with a wooden spoon. No metal appliances Grandma said. I sift flour into a large bowl and form a hole in the middle. There I fill in the milk and yeast mixture and sprinkle it with a pinch of sugar. I leave this to sit under a fresh tea towel for at least 10 minutes. Then I add diced, soft butter, sugar, egg and a pinch of salt and knead it to a dough. When using the Kitchen Aid I always use the flat beater attachment at low speed because the dough hook of the household version is a pain in the ass useless and not very helpful (it only twists the dough around in the bowl, not kneading it). Anyway you have to give the dough the extra finish by hand, softly knead it with the ball of the thumb until all ingredients assemble to a not-too-dry-and-not-too-sticky dough. Sprinkle with a little flour on top and let again rest at a warm spot, covered with a tea towel for another 30 minutes. After that you can roll out the dough in whatever shape you like and place it on a tray or in a pan. Then let it rest for another 30 minutes, lightly covered with a tea towel at a warm spot. Do not poke holes in you dough, please! Otherwise the liquid of you filling will drain your cake and it will get very mushy, not good! You want this to happen over time, not while in the oven because you won’t be able to tell if the cake is still raw or not.

Last time with the scone rolls I tried to mash the Marzipan with a fork, not the best idea I must say. Make sure you put in in the fridge over night and grate it as this recipe suggested, worked much better. Mine took a little longer in the oven, but my plums were really juicy. And I forgot to sprinkle it with sugar right after baking so I added some icing sugar on top when it was completely cooled.

I made 2 cake pans instead of 1 tray and delivered one of them to the goldsmith who was very happy and gave a thumbs up for the recipe. I must say I also liked this one, it even got better on the second day, when everything was a little more soaked with plum. It was so good, it was eaten up before I managed to take pictures!

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