When I saw Bon Appetit‘s June picnic spread featuring little apricot cakes, I knew I had to try them the Seasoned Traveler way – mixed with spices, orange zest, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. I also couldn’t resist using the little wild plums I’ve been seeing around Berlin called zwetschken. Any ripe plum – or other stone fruit – would be great in this recipe. The spices here (cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg) add a festive touch, and they smell wonderful in the oven! These little cakes are so simple and tasty, and not too sweet, so you can make a big batch and snack on them all day, or bring them on a picnic.
Little Spiced Plum Cakes
(Adapted from “Little Apricot Cakes,” featured in Bon Appetit‘s June 2013 issue)
About 18 small zwetschken plums, or 3 large regular plums
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
dollop of Greek yogurt (about 1 Tbs.)
scant 1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 Tbs. raw sugar
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and butter or oil a standard 12-cup muffin pan. Slice plums into thin wedges (4 slices for each zwetschken/more for larger plums)
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
In another medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar (I do this by hand with a spatula, but you can use an electric mixer) until light and fluffy. Add egg, orange zest, vanilla, spices, and yogurt, and mix until combined.
Add dry ingredients and milk gradually, in increments. Divide batter among muffin cups (cups will be only 1/3 full) and push plum slices into the batter, with some peeking through on top. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake until cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer muffin pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; remove cakes from pan and let rest for additional 5 minutes. Cakes are divine warm; they can be made up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.