Since rushing down the Siskyou Trail from Oregon to California about a month ago, we’ve watched a plum tree in our backyard explode into a literal bounty of golden fruit. After obligatorily shouting “There’s gold in them thar trees.”, I realized I should take advantage of this free and bountiful crop that is taking over my new backyard. The plums have been producing like wildfire for nearly 3 weeks and now the gold rush is in full force. I’ve been out back panning for gold like a bonafide 49er, picking the biggest nuggets I could find in hopes of striking it rich in the kitchen.
After hitting the mother load, I prepared the golden beauties to be baked into golden goodness. California gold doesn’t require any fussy equipment or technique, it calls for a good ol’ American cast iron skillet. The cake is baked right in the skillet and isn’t overly sweet, but it eats like a meal after a hard day of scouring. In fact, this is hardly a cake at all; it’s a Gold Buckle.
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The Gold Buckle, a semi-sweet skillet cake made with golden plums, almonds and a bit of freshly grated ginger.
*This recipe can be adapted by swapping out the golden plums for other fruit. It works well with peaches, blackberries and apricots.
*Since the cake is not overly sweet, it pairs nicely with coffee for tasty breakfast.
- unsalted butter at room temperature - 1/2 cup (1 stick), plus 2 tablespoons
- all purpose flour - 2 cups, plus more for skillet
- baking powder - 1 teaspoon
- baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon
- salt - 1 teaspoon
- granulated sugar - 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons
- eggs at room temperature - 2
- buttermilk at room temperature - 3/4 cup
- golden plums - 12 small (halved) or about 6 large (sliced)
- sliced almonds - 1 cup
- freshly grated ginger - 1 teaspoon
- pure vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
- almond extract - 1/2 teastpoon
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter a 10" cast-iron skillet, dust with flour, then tap out excess. (You can also use a regular baking pan, but the baking time may change.)
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Beat butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat the egg mixture slowly into the sugar and butter.
Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk.
Fold in the ginger and almond slices.
Pour batter into prepared skillet, and smooth top with a spatula.
Gently arrange the plums evenly on top and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Let cool slightly before serving.