There are few fruits as exquisite as Norwegian plums. They taste far better than any imported plums, yet the season in Norway is super short with availability during the month of August and September only.
Norway has planted plums since the 18th century (possibly earlier), so we have a long tradition utilizing plums in our cooking. Plums are regarded as one of autumn’s most delightful harvests, and there are a number of different varieties available. The ones most known are Edda, Mallard, Riis, Jubileum, Opal and Victoria.
Side bar and fun fact: Most of the plums in NorwY come from Hardanger. Norwegians are demanding more Norwegian grown fruit like apples, cherries and plums, than ever before, as eating local and seasonal is increasing in popularity.
I remember the enormous plum tree my parents had growing right in front of our verandah that stretched over two floors. I couldn’t wait for plum season, and ran straight out to the tree after school to snag a handful of delicious, huge blue plums to snack on. There seem to be a never ending supply, but I also recall being impatient for them to ripen before the season hit.
My mom would begin a huge canning process of the plums we weren’t able to eat fresh, so we could enjoy them through the winter. She served them up with a dollop of whipped cream for dessert after dinner on weekdays, because in my household, dessert was expected every day (by my dad mostly – he had a big sweet tooth!),
In addition to canning them, other popular ways of cooking with plums in Norway include making jam, porridge, compote and chutney. I think the most delicious way to enjoy them besides eating them straight from the tree, is to make a cake. Plommekake is a fun variant of the traditional Norwegian “eplekake” (apple cake) and a great way to use any leftover plums you might have.
The recipe really is very simple; flour, sugar, baking powder, a couple of spices along with milk and vanilla extract. The traditional version has eggs in it, but I’ve used apple sauce, as it functions just as well in this cake. Remember, eggs only act as a binder, there is nothing more magical about eggs than that. You can elect to add in a some ground up nuts as well, I’ve omitted them in my recipe to please those that may have nut allergies or want a lighter cake.
Hope you will try my vegan version of plommekake out – this is not overly sweet, as the tanginess from the plums balance out the sweetness of the batter. I served it to my local businesswomen group earlier today and got rave reviews!
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NORVEGAN PLUM CAKE
Makes 1 x 9-inch (23 cm) cake
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of vegan butter – room temperature (I use Earth Balance brand)
3/4 cup (130 grams) brown sugar
1/3 cup (70 ml) apple sauce
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (1.7 dl) of almond milk or other non-dairy milk
4 large black or blue plums – sliced 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) thick
2 tablespoons of chilled vegan butter
1/4 cup (55 grams) brown sugar
Heat the oven to 350° F (180C). Coat a 9 inch spring form pan with the 2 tablespoons of chilled butter and sprinkle the brown sugar in.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together.
Whip the vegan butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl on a high speed until completely combined.
Add the apple sauce and vanilla extract and stir in well.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to mixing bowl while going on a low speed until mostly combined. Add 1/3 of the almond milk and blend. Continue adding the flour and milk in 1/3 increments.
Arrange the plum slices in the buttered and sugar coated spring form pan.
Pour the batter evenly over the plums and smooth until the pan is evenly covered.
Bake for 50-60 minutes – place spring form on a baking sheet to prevent spillage.
Let cool completely before removing from and inverting the pan.