French Yogurt Cake with Greengage Plums for a late summer Sunday
by eat in my kitchen
Piles of plums, peaches, and apricots fill my kitchen’s countertops. Plates with tiny yellow mirabelles and slightly larger greengage plums make it look and smell like a farmers’ market, the fruit flies are having a feast. Every season has its culinary highlights, but late summer is the most lavish time of the year. Figs and berries are at the their peak, packed with sweet juices. The whole variety of stone fruits is ready to be picked from the trees, and early apples tease me with their sour quality, which is so perfect for baked treats. Sponge cakes, muffins, tarts, and pies are just waiting to be paired with one of these summer fruits – who needs whipped cream or butter cream frosting? Now is the time to stir some fruit into the dough and enjoy one of the best sweet combinations ever: cake and fruit.
Sunday is my favourite day to bake cake. I start the oven right after breakfast, which tends to end rather late. Not so much because we sleep in, it’s more because I enjoy the luxury of not having to rush after a busy week. I take my time, lots of time.
Looking at the long tradition of baking in my life, I think there have been two recipes that I have come to use far more often than others, not only on Sundays. The first one is my fluffy German waffle recipe, it’s a family weekend ritual, and the other one is a fruit cake, any kind of fruit cake. It may sound quite simple but there are a million possible variations of this treat: you could add white chocolate, cornstarch for a lighter texture, or put some crumble on top. Olive oil creates a warm flavour and adds a juicy texture, great for a cake but also for my fig and ricotta muffins.
So here we are, today I went for a classic French yogurt cake, which is usually enjoyed plain. However, my enthusiasm for fruit led to a juicy filling of greengage plums. They were supposed to become a topping, but gravity, in combination with a light sponge dough, had different plans and the fruit sunk. The dairy product is mixed with mild olive oil, no butter (!), and adds a slightly sour hint. The yellow-green plums make it sweet and fruity, it’s just right for my late summer Sunday.
French Yogurt Cake with Greengage Plums
Makes a 20cm / 8″ cake.
plain flour 230g / 1 3/4 cups
baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
plain yogurt 155g / 2/3 cup
mild olive oil 155ml / 2/3 cup
organic eggs 3, lightly beaten
granulated sugar 200g / 1 cup, plus 2 teaspoons for the topping
zest of 1 medium lemon
greengage (or normal plums), cut on 1 side and pitted, 500g / 18 ounces
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting). Butter a 20cm / 8″ springform pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the yogurt, olive oil, eggs, sugar, and lemon zest and mix with an electric mixer on low speed for about 1 minute, just until there’s no trace of flour left and the dough is combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the greengage on top of the batter (vertically, see picture above). Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of sugar and bake for about 60 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden brown on top. If you insert a skewer in the center of the cake, it should come out almost clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving.