Somehow, a paper bag full of tiny red and purple plums lay forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. I bought them from a stand at the Schenectady Green Market last Sunday, and by some carelessness they did not end up with the nectarines and donut peaches in the wooden bowl that lives on the counter. Those were already gone and replaced with our most recent bounty. Only just resurfaced and a week old, I pondered what to do with these little beauties.
I suddenly remembered a cake that I made a couple of times last summer. Roasted plums, nestled into a buttermilk skillet cake sounded about the height of perfection just then, and it was only 9 am.
“Better make it soon,” my husband advised, “before it gets hot.” We were due for another 90 degree day.
I had no buttermilk in the house, nor did I have the inclination to run out to Price Chopper. I was also trying to reduce the amount of dairy in my diet, as too much sadly gives me a stomach ache. I decided to make this cake free of any dairy, for better or worse. I scoured the internet for advice, and discovered that lemon juice or vinegar can be added to dairy free milk, just as it can to cow’s milk, to make a suitable substitute. I made up my own ratio, and happily, my “buttermilk” added just the tang that the cake needed.
Before I share this cake recipe, I must give credit where credit is due. This cake would not be possible without the wonderful Joy the Baker’s original skillet cake recipe (Strawberry Buttermilk Cake), and Rebekka Seale’s (Camellia Fiber Company) directions for roasting the plums. She also came up up with the idea to put them into this cake! I have Rebekka’s recipe because I printed it out, but sadly can no longer find it on the internet.
Bourbon Roasted Plums
(adapted from Rebecca Seale’s recipe)
Cut 8 tiny plums in half, and remove the pits (I used all of the plums that I had on hand, but feel free to add more if you have them).
Toss plums in a quarter cup of sugar.
Add a splash of bourbon (my husband kindly let me have some of his Jim Beam), and a splash of lemon juice.
Once the plums seem coated, roast them in a small plan (lined with tinfoil for an easier cleanup) for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
Dairy Free Skillet Cake
(Joy the Baker’s recipe, made dairy free)
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 1/2 cups of almond milk
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/4 cup of liquidized coconut oil (plus more to grease the skillet)
Once your plums are out of the oven, put them aside to cool off. Grease your cast iron skillet with coconut oil. Now you can start to mix together the cake batter.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the almond milk and lemon juice together- you’ve just made your own dairy free “buttermilk”! Add two eggs, the coconut oil and almond extract to your dairy free buttermilk.
Mix together the wet and dry ingredients, until there are no lumps. Pour the batter into your cast iron skillet. Now for the fun part. Carefully place your plums into the batter, so that they are fairly evenly spread throughout. Drizzle all of the juices from the plums over the cake batter. Bake the cake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees.
I am happy to report that this dairy free recipe is just as good as the original buttermilk cake! Eat it after dinner for dessert, and then maybe have some for breakfast tomorrow with a cup of coffee.