Plum buckle: a delicious marriage of cake and fruit
Picking plums is its own reward. The trees are small, the fruit easily reached and sampling opportunities rampant. In addition to fresh eating, plums plate up in the kitchen as a versatile fruit, perfect for baking, canning, jamming or just about any culinary road you wish to lead them down. As an avid baker, I love to make plum buckle, a buttery cake bolstered with ground almonds and topped with plums that bake into the batter like stained glass rondels.
While plum buckle is deceptively easy to make, the cake serves up as something special, a real showstopper. Good looks draw the diner in, but the flavor, texture, crumb and fruity goodness make plum buckle a dessert you’ll make again and again.
So in a world of grunts, slumps, cobblers and crisps, just what is a buckle? A buckle is basically a stiff cake batter that you top with fruit and dust with sugar.
As the buckle bakes, the fruit softens and sinks into the batter.
As the name implies, the cake buckles under the weight of the plums and the top of the cake is crowned with gooey fruit goodness.
Recipe: Plum Buckle
- 1/2 cup whole almonds
- 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
- 1 Teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 Cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Teaspoon almond extract
- 10-12 plums (halved and pitted)
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
|Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.|
|Butter spring form pan (any size, smaller for thicker cake, larger for thinner) dust with flour. Add parchment paper or wax paper to the bottom of the pan.|
|Grind almonds in food processor until coarse meal. Add to flour, baking powder and salt.|
|In mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, blend further. Add vanilla and almond extract.|
|Add flour mixture slowly to batter.|
|Batter will be stiff. Transfer to cake pan and smooth out with spatula.|
|Top cake with plum halves placed side by side. |
|Mix cinnamon and 3 Teaspoons of sugar and spoon over plums.|
|Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.|
|Cool for 30 minutes before eating.|
Ah, YUM! Tom, so often the things you make remind me of my Momma. She would certainly have approved of this cake and of you – she loved to garden and definitely had a sweet tooth.
Thanks June, that is one kind compliment sweeter than any dessert. I would have loved to compare notes with your Momma, and I’d have to tell her what a great job she did raising her daughter. (Can’t speak to the rest of the siblings.) 😉
That looks so yummy! I might have to try baking one myself.
Go for it Melanie; you’ll be glad you did!
That looks amazing! I’d like to try it with Pluots too. Thanks Tom, as usual you come up with amazing treats. Have a great day.
Thanks Margaret, you know I may have to plant a couple pluot trees to round out the orchard. I’ve been enjoying them at our farmers market, that’s for sure.
As you bake a copious amount of pies, I have to ask, – DO YOU USE ‘ClearJel’ in any of your baking OR CANNING?
If you do use it, WHERE do you find it? Other than Cash & Carry (25 pounds / $52.00), I a unable to find any LOCAL sources for this product.
Carol, I don’t use Clearjel, not familiar with it, but I do use cornstarch. I usually drain off the fruit juice from fruit macerating in sugar, add 2-3 T of cornstarch, heat, thicken, cool then add back to fruit. Really works pretty well on all pies. For apples I’ll just add a little apple cider to the cornstarch, as apples don’t juice up like stone fruit or berries. For canning jams, I just cook on low heat and slowly. Repeat until evaporation thickens adequately. Hope this helps. Tom
Wow! I will have to make this before plum season passes me by.
What size springform pan are you using or does it matter?
Bonny, again, sorry, I was asleep at the wheel on this one. I’ve used a 10-inch springform pan for a thicker cake and a 12-inch for a thinner cake. Both work really well. It just takes a little longer to bake in the deep dish version.
Hummm… just got all my ingredients out to make this lovely cake and noticed that there is no sugar amount in the recipe.
Bonny, my apologies, not sure how I missed that. I’ve added it to the recipe and it takes 1 cup, to be whipped into the room-temperature butter until smooth.
I finally made this buckle. It was GREAT! I experimented a bit and used 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of yogurt to cut some of the fat. Not sure how it could have been any better!
Tom – I have been meaning to ask you for this recipe since you brought the buckle to my end- of-summer gathering. This dessert is the perfect combo of sweet and tart. I had it for breakfast the morning after the party and I have to tell you, it felt like I was getting away with something. This is a must try recipe! Love you, Nancy
Thanks Nancy, the beauty of this dessert is sharing the fresh fruits of the season with friends like you.
I made this yesterday, with Italian Plums. SO good! The addition of the almonds, and almond extract really took it to a whole new level! However, it made a mess of my oven. Butter oozing out of the spring form pan. Next time I will put a pan on the rack below it. I wonder if you could cut the butter in half, and still have a great buckle. Most of the buckles I have made only have 1/2 cup of butter. I think I might try that. I am a lurker, and don’t comment often, but really enjoy your recipes, and writing!
Hi Karen, nice to meet such a delightful “lurker.” 😉 I think the buckle would be less dense and more cakey with less butter, but I say give it a try. Also, you could line your pan with parchment. Just crumble up the sheet to make it more flexible, then un-wad it and place it in the bottom and press up over the sides to keep the juices and batter from escaping. Sorry about the mess. I’ll update the recipe to suggest using parchment to prevent drips. Thanks for the kind words and the visit!