The truth of the matter is that Grandma knows best… even if it isn’t your grandma. Grandma’s, in general, know best.
I had been eyeing this recipe for Plum and Walnut Cake from Big Girls, Small Kitchen for ages. It had been bookmarked, researched, and drooled over. When we got big bunch of plums from our farm share the other week, I knew it’s moment had come. It was time to make cake!
But, wanting to make things difficult, I changed the recipe a little bit. I mean a little bit. Basically, I added a step of toasting the walnuts and baked the cake in muffin tins to make individual mini cakes rather than a sheet cake. Otherwise, it was exactly the same. Why mess with perfection? Cara’s grandmother, Esther, had been making the cake for years. The cake was so loved that Cara is planning to serve it at her wedding. Why did I think I could make it better?!
The batter came together easily and beautifully, no mixer necessary. Into the muffin tins it went. The, into the oven. I was feeling accomplished…
Until I looked in to check on their progress and they were overflowing. I waited, and they abated but the end result was nearly impossible to get out of the pan. The muffin tops…well… were quite flabby.
But when I tasted them, my oh my, there was nothing to be upset about. Because of my changes to the recipe they were ugly but, thanks to the perfection of Grandma Esther’s recipe, they were delicious. Sweet, nutty, almost caramel-ey, yet with a tart surprise from the plums, these Plum and Walnut Mini Cakes were unbelievably good.
And next time, I’ll just follow Grandma Esther’s damn recipe word for word. Grandma’s know best.
Plum and Walnut Mini Cakes
Makes 24 mini cakes
Adapted from Grandma Esther’s Plum and Walnut Cake from Big Girls, Small Kitchen
1 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 cups plums, pitted, cut in bite-sized pieces
Oil muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the oil, sugar, and eggs.
Toast the walnuts and roughly chop.
In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Pour the dry ingredients over the wet and fold in. Fold in the fruit and the walnuts.
Pour batter into muffin tins, taking care to not overfill (like I did!). Bake about 40 minutes, until the top is crisp and brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted in comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Gently run a knife around the outside of the muffin tin to loosen the mini cakes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.