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Plum Kuchen

1 October 2017

fullsizeoutput_4a8eI was introduced to this recipe by the French chef Olivier Hazan when I was a cook at The California Café in Carlisle PA . I later saw a similar recipe by Marian Burrows in the New York Times that was so popular that it was published every September from 1983-1989. Her recipe calls for Stanley/prune plums, cinnamon sugar, and lemon juice and no vanilla; my cooking and caramelizing techniques are different, too. I am sure it is worth trying, but I love this cake too much to squander the ingredients for experimentation.

Plum Kuchcen 
350°, 1 hour

2-3 black plums, sliced, with the skins on (so pretty! so full of vitamins!) into 12ths (cut each quarter into thirds) or desired thickness. Sometimes I use a combination of black and red plums, alternating them in the pattern in the pan, to lovely effect.

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Line the bottom of a 10” springform pan with foil. Assemble the pan and apply a thin layer of cooking spray. Arrange plums in bottom of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar very well. Add eggs one at a time, adding the second egg only after the first is completely incorporated. Mix in vanilla.

Gradually and gently, add the flour mixture, a tablespoon or two at a time, until just incorporated. Gently spread the batter on top of the plums. Bake for one hour, depending on your oven (mine was done at 55 minutes, but my oven, like me, runs hot). Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for about half an hour.

Turn on your oven’s broiler. Gently run a table knife around the edge of the cake to loosen from pan, then remove the sides of the pan. Place a plate on top of the cake and invert it so that the cake is resting on the plate. Gently remove the foil.

Carefully slide the cake off the plate and onto the bottom of the springform pan, right side up this time. Sprinkle the top of the cake lightly with sugar, a bit more heavily around about one inch of the edge. Place cake under the broiler until the sugar starts caramelizing, darkening the cake in color, about 3 minutes in my oven. I have left it too long in the oven and it is still absolutely delicious if it burns a bit, or if it burns even more than a bit.

Let cake cool thoroughly before serving.  It tastes best the second day —  I cannot emphasize this enough.


19 February 2015

Daughter’s cell phone broke.
House phone ringing constantly –
the sound of my teens.

New York Times Editorial

14 July 2013

New York Times Editorial

Here is the link to my Letter to the Editor that was published in the national edition of the New York Times on 13 April 2013.  Mine is the last letter.


24 March 2010

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.

You know that there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them out there in the past, but you don’t know them: all the women who made great technological contributions and advances through the ages but never, ever got one iota of the credit they deserved.  Sometimes they received a mention or a footnote, but, more often, the greater glory went to the man involved.  

So on this Ada Lovelace Day I ask you to mediate on all the women whose contributions must be touching our lives today, but whose identities will forever remain unknown.