Italian prune plums have always signaled autumn in my family. We had a prune plum tree in the backyard of the house in which I grew up, and they were always used in a specific family recipe (more on that in an upcoming post). So when I saw them popping up at the store, I knew summer was over. I also knew that I had to use them, and fast, since their season is notoriously fleeting. It was after this first sighting that I bookmarked Dorie Greenspan's recipe for Dimply Plum Cake from the canonical Baking from My Home to Yours.
However, although those prune plums were the point of the exercise, I've decided to save them for something a little more special, and take Ms. Greenspan up on one of her suggested variations for this "brown sugar coffee cake." So instead of plums, I used peaches, and instead of orange zest, I used lemon. I didn't have any cardamom on hand (and neither did the stupid, always poorly stocked grocery store down the street), so I used ginger instead. But when I happen on cardamom, you can bet I'll pick some up for next time!
Little Dimply Peach Cakes
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed, light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Peaches for the top (pitted, and sliced)
Oven preheated to 350, with a rack in the center. Butter and flour an 8" square baking pan (or use ramekins and mini loaf pans, like I did). Whisk the first 3 ingredients together.
With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set on medium speed, beat the butter until it's light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, beat for 2 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the zest, oil and vanilla. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the dry mixture, mixing only until the ingredients are incorporated.
Pour the mixture into your prepared pan(s) and arrange the peach slices on top.
Bake for about 40 minutes (depending on what kind of pan you used) until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan, on a rack for 15 minutes.