(The Nosher via JTA) – For as long as I’ve been cooking I’ve made honey cake for Rosh Hashanah. I do this just as my mother did, and my grandmother did, and likely my great-grandmother before her. I love my family’s recipe, and I have even made tweaks to it over the years.
But the truth is, I like honey cake more for tradition’s sake than for its flavor. Last year it finally occurred to me that I don’t have to make honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.
What did I actually want to eat and serve on Rosh Hashanah?
I love sunken apple cake, but there are always so many apples eaten over the High Holidays that I wanted to make something featuring another fruit. I had just picked up a beautiful bag of plums from the market, and they called out to me. Why not make a sunken plum cake?
The flavor of plum goes so well with honey. Like an apple, the plum’s tartness cuts through and complements honey’s sweetness. Their bold colors always add beauty to any baked good, and I love that plums are highly seasonal. They’re only at their best for a short window of time each year, which typically coincides with the Jewish New Year. For me, using plums at their peak is always celebratory.
This is a simple cake to make with lots of flavor. I add ginger to the batter for its warmth and zing, and cardamom for its subtle and welcome citrusy spiciness. The ginger and cardamom’s perfuminess and oh-so-subtle heat also serve to accentuate the fruitiness in the plums. You can use any plum or pluot for this cake, but I like ones that are slightly firm and ripe, and not too small. This recipe can be made pareve by using vegan butter, and the flour can be swapped for a gluten-free all purpose mix.
Like any good holiday recipe, sunken plum cake tastes even better made a day in advance. At dinner, I love to serve the cake topped with whipped cream or ice cream, but this also makes a delicious indulgent breakfast treat on the holiday.
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