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Salt and Stone: Turn those plums into a delicious late-summer cake

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The window at my kitchen sink is lined with garden tomatoes, peaches, pears and plums, all ripening on the sunny ledge. The August summer produce haul never ceases to amaze me. My weekly produce box from McIlrath Farm and Market is the shining star of our week, surprising us every Wednesday with ripe cantaloupes, fresh basil, purple carrots and crunchy fat cucumbers.

After a four day camping trip north of Leavenworth, we returned home with dust and dirt everywhere. It was the cap to a fun, albeit unique, summer. Something in the ever-so-subtle shift in weather and September looming ever closer on the calendar is beginning to shift my mind away from summer.

There were four perfectly ripe plums sitting on my kitchen ledge when we got home, just begging to be eaten up. Instead of handing them out to the kids, I decided a little treat was in order. A simple cake topped with fresh fruit is one of my favorite desserts. I fall into the camp of “all cake is good cake,” but these simple one-bowl recipes really are so lovely.

I chose plums because that’s what I happened to have on hand, but peaches, nectarines or blackberries would be wonderful as well. The olive oil gives a wonderful floral earthy flavor and balances out the sweetness. The Greek yogurt adds moisture and creates a lovely crumb. Whatever combination you come up with is sure to be a hit and perfect for these “still summer but almost fall” days.

• Andrea McCoy writes the column Kitchen Captivated for Yakima Magazine and at The Salt and Stone, a home cooking blog. This column runs weekly in Thursday’s SCENE section. The Salt and Stone is a nod not just to the essence of cooking, but also to the Yakima Valley. Read more at www.thesaltandstone.com.

Plum Olive Oil Cake

4 small ripe plums

3/4 cup olive oil

2 eggs

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Zest of one lemon

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 10-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, olive oil, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, almond and zest. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Slice the plums and arrange across the top of the cake. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out dry. Remove from oven. Warm jam in a small bowl in the microwave. Brush over the top of the cake for an easy glaze.

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