30.9.08

Quick cake with plums


I´ve always had a bit of a cookbook habit, but of late it´s spiralled out of control. I´ve realised it´s the perfect reading when you have a new baby cornering the market for attention.

Cookbooks are cut down into very manageable chunks, so that even if you have the concentration span of a mosquito, you can generally get to the end of a recipe. There are no sub-plots, barring the occasional suggestion to serve with mashed potatoes. And always, always, there´s a happy ending: serves 4-6.

But this is strictly for entertainment. Now I only cook things that I know by heart, that are very simple, and can either be done ahead of time or in a very short flash. The soups, sandwich fillings, roast tomatoes or rice I might do while Pía lounges in her buggy and looks on with very mild interest. The quick stuff I reserve for just before dinner, when J can look after her and I am left alone. At the risk of sounding like an evil mother, I´ll say it´s a very relaxing break. I focus on the food, and the food only, and come back to my baby much refreshed. And I get to eat dinner, too.

The shopping is somewhat more erratic than it used to be, and I find myself with surplus stuff that needs to be used, fast. This is what I did yesterday with a bowl of plums that needed to be eaten. I´m very pleased with the result: a dead-easy, delicious cake that can be done on the spur of a moment (no need to remember to leave butter to soften), isn´t guilt-inducingly decadent, cooks fast and keeps very well for a day. I know that for a fact, because that´s how long it´s lasted, but for all I know, it might keep for longer.

All you do is use the batter for these little lemon cupcakes, sans lemon, and put it in a square pan of 21x21 cm. Then cut 8 plums in half, and arrange them in the batter so that you can later cut sixteen squares.

Bake as you would a normal cake. Sorry to be so imprecise, but my oven has no buttons. It took somewhere around 40 minutes in a mid to lowish one, with the heat coming only from below.
The result is a dense, slightly coarse sponge that surrounds quivering sweet fruit. Can´t wait to try it with pears.

13 comentarios:

Dana McCauley dijo...

Your oven has no buttons!? What a culinary adventurer you are! Do you have an oven thermometer? You might find it helpful and a good investment if you don't have one already.

Blushing hostess dijo...

I did the same when my daughter was born last year: Went to the library the week before and borrowed several great books I suddenly had coppy time to read. It was really a time of great gifts: My sweet little girl and a few moments here and there with Julia and Dorie Greenspan. In February, when my second child is born, I look forward to repeating these days.

Anónimo dijo...

Que monada tu niña! Disfruta de estos momentos, duran muy poquito.
Inés

ChichaJo dijo...

A baby and a cake...and an oven with no buttons...you are my hero! :)

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

I'm amazed that you're finding time to shop and cook at all! Thanks for sharing this wonderful little painting of your baby, too.

xps dijo...

No se cuál de las dos cosas me parece más apetecible. Pía o el bollo.

Susan G dijo...

You bring back sweet memories: sitting in the rocking chair, nursing my new baby, reading the Time-Life Foods of the World books...Now he is a father of 3 and a wonderful cook too. Enjoy your little one!

Preston dijo...

My daughter collects cookbooks like there's no tomorrow and the older, the better. However, I do think she would freak out over an oven with no buttons! I am also glad to see you posting again. Did you know that you were the first blog I ever followed? Enjoy every bit of time with your baby cause they grow up so fast...

Reva dijo...

mmm...i love plum cake! stumbled on a great recipe by mark bittman in his "veg" cookbook that uses rosemary as a lovely savory note....and b/c it involves an excessive use of butter and brown sugar, it gives you a really cool caramel-ly kind of thing on top (his is an upside down technique so when you flip it over, the jewel-like plums are atop.

have lots of fun with your little baby -- hope she continues to enjoy the occasional crumb you let fall on her head!

cheers,
reva

Anónimo dijo...

As a father of six I've been through similar circumstances looking after along my wife little babies and engaged in cookery and shopping letting alone full time working. That's a tall mission but I still recall those times as very rewarding and having plenty of fun though. Nowadays they grew up and can help somehow in the kitchen barred the little one who is still three and half. This is arguably the most exciting period in a lifetime.
Enric

Arantza dijo...

Hola, he descubierto tu blog por el de Marona, y me gustan mucho tus ilustraciones (es una opinión meramente personal, pero "un poco autorizada", como antiquísima licenciada de Bellas Artes... :-^) Pues eso, saludos desde Canadá.

FlavoursofItaly dijo...

Wow, this is extreame, a cooker with no buttons and a baby, you can do anything!

Signe Johansen dijo...

Brilliant! I love the fact that the oven is buttonless and that hasn't thwarted the attempt to bake a plum cake. Great idea. Love the illustration too ;-)

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