Baking | Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes … Happy 100th Birthday Julia

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
Julia Child

Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThose lines by Julia Child defined my spirit of blogging from day one. To celebrate Julia’s 100th birthday on the 15th of August, 2012, I chose and adapted this beautiful everyday dessert –  Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes from Baking With Julia. There was an energy about her, the chef who changed the way America cooked and baked. Food bloggers worldwide woke up to a new identity after Julie & Julia. People looked at us differently, suddenly recognising the band of foodies who passionately belted out deliciousness online day after day.Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThe ever sweet Suma @ Cakes & More sent me Dorie Greenspans amazing book Baking With Julia as a gift. The book is packed with sweet and savoury recipes from the PBS series that Julia hosted, and doubles up as a baking encyclopedia too. Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes The commentary is warm and friendly, puts you at ease instantly as Dorie talks to you through each recipe. Baking With Julia now shares place of honour on my bookshelf with both volumes of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesBread is what I wanted to bake, a Fougasse, but I didn’t plan well in time as the dough needed to sit for 24 hours to get bubbly and squeaky! I love the way Dorie writes that because even the bread dough has ’emotions’! My next natural choice was a simple everyday dessert. With plums in the fridge, these little Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes were but going to happen!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesI changed the recipe a little bit, and pretty soon realised that I might have togrin and bear it soon. The batter was runnier than required. Into it went some almond meal, and since the eggs were small I went for 3 knowing pretty well that 2 whole + 1 yolk should do the trick! Should have used ramekins, threw caution to the wind and used dessert rings. I knew I was in trouble when the plums on top sank right in; with them my heart!!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesI fixed it though, topped the cakelets with more plum halves {and slices} halfway through baking, safe in the knowledge that maybe an invisible Julia peered over my shoulder. This is the untold joy of baking with a good book. It keeps you company, the characters pop up all over the place giving you tips, hints, telling you all is well, yelling at you when not! My time in the kitchen is always virtually in good company!CocoI am fortunate to have some good company in reality too – a little plum thief that I have raised. Coco, our cocker spaniel took a shine to plums when she came to our home in the summer of 2011! Nothing’s changed! She didn’t notice me looking at her, and soon nicked a ‘plum prop’ and made a meal out of it, the little blighter! It was really tart!! Coco & PlumShe has great taste and will be any Mums delight! Loves her greens {beans, spinach, purslane, peas – raw or cooked}, loves her protein {eggs, cottage cheese, chickpeas} and even loves fruit {banana, mango, kiwi , plums, peaches, cherries, strawberries!}Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThat’s just how well my time in the kitchen is spent! I love it! Creating food is almost an obsession and I love the culinary adventures that great chefs like Julia Child encourage. Oven Roasted Plum & Almond CakesThis is really good you know!” exclaimed the 16 year old aka the dieting diva. {She couldn’t resist my ‘maybe you’d like to try some’ nonchalant reference to a plum cake in the oven !} “YUM! Can I have another?” was the more excited response from the junior teen who was hoping for a yes but got a NO instead!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes The little cakes were indeed delicious. Well balanced, beautiful light crumb and just right with the sweetness too. The plums gave up their juices and became delectable part of the cake. Topped with vanilla ice cream or even some low fat unsweetened cream … mmm! Dorie suggests a chocolate sauce … that must taste divine!Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes

[print_this]Recipe: Oven Roasted Plum & Almond Cakes your picture

Summary: Tiny little delicious dessert cakes that celebrate summer, stone fruit and plums! They are light and delightful, the almond meal adding beautiful texture to the crumb! Recipe adapted minimally from Marsel Desaulniers, Baking With Julia. {Makes 8 3″ cakes}

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • 1/2 cup raw sugar {khand}
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 small eggs
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
  • 1 scant cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 large ripe plums, halved and pitted
  • Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or dark chocolate sauce if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Grease 8 3″ dessert rings or 12 2″ ramekins with melted butter {I used clarified butter} and place on a foiled lined rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Sift the flour, almond meal and baking soda. Reserve in a bowl.
  4. Combine raw sugar and 2 tbsp of brown sugar in a bowl with butter. Cream for 2-3 minutes on medium high speed.
  5. Add the eggs, vanilla bean and cream on high for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the flour mix and beat in on low speed until just combined, followed with the buttermilk. Mix in on low speed until uniformly mixed, 30 seconds.
  7. Divide batter equally between prepared rings / ramekins, sprinkle over the remaining brown sugar and bake in oven to 15 minutes. Once the top is somewhat set, quickly place half a plum, cut side up into each cup. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes until light golden brown and done {toothpick inserted into middle should come out clean.}
  8. Cool the tray on the rack for at least 15-20 minutes, then gently ease out using a blunt bitter knife. Serve warm or at room temperature as is, or with low fat unsweetened cream or vanilla ice cream.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.


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