Plum Semolina Cake

August 23, 2012

Plum Semolina Cake

Aren't these little cake squares pretty? This is the kind of dessert I love to make - quick, simple and bursting with flavour. This plum cake is moist, tender, wonderfully fruity, and has just the right amount of sweetness. I instantly became a semolina fan a few years ago after tasting RedChillies' Eggless Mango Cake. I turned out many versions of that cake and each one was a hit. With this cake instead of mashing the plums and adding the purée to the batter, I preferred to dot the cake with halved plums for a more appealing look. This also created a delicious contrast of textures and colours.

Semolina gives the cake a pleasingly grainy texture. It also helps retain moisture, making it less dense than similar flour-based cakes. This semolina cake is flavoured with Bramley applesauce which adds a pleasing touch of tartness and makes it light and fresh tasting.

Plum Semolina Cake

Plums are the stars in this cake. For this reason it is their quality that matters. Too ripe and they will turn into mush while baking, not ripe enough and they won't soften enough to infuse the cake with their juices. Choose ripe plums that are still a little firm to the touch.

The addition of plums not only looks really striking against the pale colour of the cake, but also adds natural sweetness to it. As the cake bakes, some of the juice seeps out into the cake staining it with its vibrant crimson colour and flavouring it right through. What I learnt from this experience is that it's better to use the fruit unpeeled. During baking, the skin prevents the juices from evaporating and softens, making it easy to peel off as the cake cools down. I tested this conclusion on another version using peaches; while the fruit was still juicy and soft, the top was rather dry and needed glazing.

Now, isn't this a really short list of ingredients?

Plum Semolina Cake
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 cup creamy coconut milk (75% fat)
  • 1 cup Bramley applesauce
  • 5 medium plums

Note: Choose a type of semolina that's not too coarse, but not flour-like either. It should still be grainy, but fine. I find that coarse semolina makes this cake too dense, as it doesn't have enough liquid to absorb, while very fine semolina turns it into a thick pudding. 1 cup = 250 ml.


In a bowl mix together semolina, sugar and baking powder. Add the applesauce and coconut milk and whisk together until well combined. Let the mixture rest for 10-15 minutes during which it will thicken, as the semolina will absorb part of the moisture.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Wash the plums, halve them and remove the stones.

Lightly grease the bottom and about an inch up the sides of a 23 cm (9") square pan with non-dairy margarine or butter (I prefer it over oil because it keeps the cake from browning on the sides, so it remains beautifully yellow).

Pour the batter into the pan and even it out with the back of a spoon. Lay the plums cut side down, as in the picture above. Don't push them down, they will sink a little bit, but not all the way through.

Plum Semolina Cake

Bake for about 30 minutes. By then the top will be slightly darker and a toothpick inserted in the cake will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs (not batter).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack (1 - 1.5 hours). Soon after baking the cake will pull away from the sides.

After the cake has cooled down for a few minutes, carefully peel the skin off the prunes using a small knife.

Plum Semolina Cake

As the cake cools, it will absorb the juices from the plums, making them sink a bit further.

When at room temperature, cut the cake into squares and serve.

Plum Semolina Cake

I took this close-up picture to show you the beautiful fine-crumb texture of the cake.

The colour of these baked plums was a bit of a surprise. As I used purple-skin plums I expected their colour to be a deep purple and it was a wonder to see that gorgeous display of red tones.

Plum Semolina Cake

Cutting right through a piece of fruit reveals a symphony of colours that makes the cake all the more appetizing - flaming red, purple, crimson, bright and pale yellow, it's all there to seduce.

This is a splendid summer dessert that glorifies the beauty and natural sweetness of plums, one I hope you will try. Enjoy and share the magic!:)


Like this recipe? Share it with your friends and come back for more!

26 comments:

Andrea - Chocolate and Beyond

What a great little idea Adriana! And because the squares are so cute this would really appeal for baking with kids or for their parties, I reckon :)

Vegan Magic

Thank you, Andrea. Kids would surely love getting involved:)

cathy bryant

I made this yesterday - it was easy and delicious. For the apple sauce, I peeled and stewed a couple of bramley apples with sugar and a touch of water until they were soft. I also left the plums completely unpeeled. Apart from that, I followed the recipe exactly - and it was perfect. It *looked* as if it was going to be heavy when it came out of the oven, but it wasn't - it was as light as a feather and it melted in the mouth. I recommend this excellent recipe to everyone. Try it hot with soy custard! That's how we had ours, and even Fussy Partner loved it.

Vegan Magic

That's wonderful, Cathy:) I'm so happy the cake turned out great and everyone loved it. Homemade applesauce sounds much better than the store-bought. Thank you so much for the feedback, I appreciate it.

Andrea - Chocolate and Beyond

Yummy yummy! I made these plum cakes tonight and they were great! I can't believe they turned out so well with no oil/fat added. I ate them with vegan almond cream which is very nice, but agree with Cathy that custard would go well :-) Thank you Adriana for a lovely & easy recipe.

Vegan Magic

Andrea, your comment has made me so happy:) I'm so glad you enjoyed the cake. I never thought of combining it with cream or custard, now you and Cathy gave me something to look forward to next time I make this. Thank you so much for the feedback, I appreciate it:)

Sapna

I just wanted to comment that the recipes on your website are very good. All the baked goods look professionally made. The pictures are amazing. Thanks for posting all your recipes. I haven't tried any of them yet, but I am definitely going to. I am a vegetarian trying to go vegan. Keep up the good work.

Vegan Magic

Sapna, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm happy you like the recipes and hope you enjoy the ones you try. Congratulations on your decision to go vegan! Food-wise try to stick with simple, nourishing meals, include plenty of raw foods in your diet and avoid processed/refined foods as much as possible. This is an easy way to beat cravings and feel great:) If you need any assistance or have any doubts, please don't hesitate to contact me.

disha

Hey wwowow thank u soo much for the wonderful recipe
I wanted to know if can i put dates pulp instead of sugar
And completely omit putting apple sauce
And i make coconut milk at home and i freeze it and take the cream from the top and use it but it does nt come out soo creamy can u please help me

Vegan Magic

Hello again, Disha! I haven't tried this recipe with date paste instead of sugar, it would take some experimenting because date paste is normally thick, so it should first be thinned with water, but that would reduce the overall sweetness. Applesauce can be replaced with pineapple puree, there's a recipe for semolina loaf cake I'm going to post later on in which I combined pineapple and coconut cream. If the cream you collect from the coconut milk doesn't have enough fat, the cake will fall apart. Using date paste on the other hand would take care of that, but again, this requires some experimenting to get the right amounts. Adding some non-dairy butter or margarine would help the cake hold together. If you can wait until I post the loaf recipe, you'll have more options to consider. Thank you so much for your interest in this recipe and for the comment, the first one I got in 2013:) Happy New Year!

Anonymous

Adriana, do you think I can use dried plums (soaked) instead? Thanks.

Vegan Magic

Good question! I don't see why it wouldn't work, except they won't look as pretty;) Also, rehydrated prunes don't become as thick as fresh plums, so I wouldn't halve them, rather use them whole. If you try the cake with soaked prunes, please let me know how it turns out. Thank you for writing:) Happy baking!

Anonymous

I am also wondering if sour cherries can be used with this recipe (prajitura cu visine). I used to love that particular recipe when I still used eggs in my cooking. Ever since I always wanted to be able to make that recipe, and I have a feeling this might work. I will let you know when I have time to try it.

Vegan Magic

Sour cherries, that's a fabulous idea for this cake, especially since they're much lighter than plums and there is no risk of them sinking. I've made a couple of gluten-free versions, much lighter and softer than this, but the plums sank to the middle each time. I'm going to try them with sour cherries instead. Have you seen the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake on Martha Stewart's website? I'd love to try a cherry version using this batter. Thank you so much for the suggestion, I look forward to knowing how your cake turns out:)

Alina

Adriana, I made the recipe two days ago and I loved the taste, however it did not turn out fluffly at all. On the contrary, it was quite dense. Do you think it might have been the semolina flour I used or the coconut milk? I was able to find only one type of semolina flour at the store, so I don't know if this was too fine for this recipe. What does it say on the box of the one you use? On the can of coconut milk it says 90%coconut milk extract, and under nutrition info. 20.1 grams fat per 100g. I would like to try it again, but I am wondering what I am doing wrong.

Vegan Magic

Alina, I'm sorry the texture didn't come out fluffy and thank you for not giving up on the cake yet:) There can be a number of reasons why that happened, one, like you said, could be the type of semolina. Here I have found 3 types: one that is coarse and grainy, almost like corn grits (I use it to make "gris cu lapte", because I love the large grains), another that's powder-like, and one that's medium fine (the one used here). If the grain is quite large, you need to add more milk. If too powdery, even adding less milk won't work, it will turn into something like thick pudding. The milk you had was good, a little more fat than the one I used but that can't have made a big difference. The pan size could also influence the texture. Have a look at the Mango Cake (semolina), that one was a lot thicker than this and the texture was quite dense. Another factor is the oven. If too hot (or if it tends to burn the top) then the cake forms a crust and traps the moisture inside, the semolina then "cooks" and the texture is denser. If the baking powder is old, it won't help the cake rise. Without seeing how you made it, I can't really make a suggestion other than to add just a little bit of baking soda to "bubble up":) I hope this helps.

Alina

Thank you so much for your advice, Adriana. I think the semolina flour might be the problem. The one I have it's very fine, this is the only one that I found in the store. I will check other stores to see if they have a different kind. Also, my pan 1.5 times bigger than the one you use, so I made one portion and a half of the batter. This might have been another issue. I will buy a smaller pan and see if it works. The final product was just as you said, a very thick pudding. However, I loved the taste and family ate it anyway. I am not giving up, I love the idea of a semolina cake. I will try again and let you know how it turned out.

Vegan Magic

Alina, I hope it all works fine next time:) I'm also thinking of trying this cake in muffin form, that would look pretty:) Smaller plums in that case, just to make sure they don't sink to the bottom. Happy baking!

Svenja Maschke

Hey, Adriana!
I remembered "Basbousa" from my Grandmother, which is another kind of semolina cake. When I saw your recipe, I HAD to give it a try! I sprinkled almonds on it, they browned in the oven and when my mother ate it, she had the biggest smile on her face "Not as sweet as the sirup-soaked turkish version. Better!" So greetings and a big thank you!

Vegan Magic

Svenja, that's fantastic news! Thank you so much for the feedback, your comment has made my day:) I too remember Basbousa, it's how I fell in love with baked semolina desserts:) Have you ever tried Safra, the traditional Libyan semolina and date cake with aromatic sugar syrup? If not, I think your mom would love it:) I love the idea of adding almonds to this cake, definitely giving it a try next time. Thank you very much for writing:)

Anonymous

I used this recipe as a vegan version of the russian zapekanka, (oven pudding). I used very fine semolina and half coconut milk and half yofu, and added a tbsp of oil. Then topped it of with apple chunks, raisins and pumpkin sauce. For the pumpkin sauce I used 500 gram of chopped pumpkin and boiled it with some fresh ginger and lemon peel, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Let it cool. Then I added 2 tbsp of pectin sugar, 2 tbsp of semolina, 2 tbsp of starch. 1 tbsp of flaxseedmeal with some hot water. Mixed it and poored of the first layer. It was the best zapekanka I ever had! Thank you vegan magic for providing this recipe:) Maria

Vegan Magic

Maria, I'm very happy to know this recipe helped you make a vegan version of the cake you like. The combination with pumpkin sounds very interesting, a lot of flavours there. Thank you very much for the comment and for sharing your own recipe with us.

Patchulia M

Thanks for a great recipe! Tried it out (only changed a bit). The cake tastes delicious and looks amazing, too:).

Vegan Magic

Thanks very much Patchulia, so happy you enjoyed it:)

Trendy fashion

Wow, this is an amazing recipe with semolina, the one which I have to try, so easy to follow and I just know it will taste like heaven.

xxx

chloe

Vegan Magic

Thank you, Chloe, hope you enjoy it:)

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