There's been all going on around here and I've been trying to pull together a post for ages but with a growing newborn who hates to be put down, I do more blog reading than blog writing.
I'm nearing the end of my 3 month maternity leave (this time has flown and really 12 weeks is WAY too short, and I'm fortunate to have been able to take the extra unpaid time.) I am currently stressing about leaving my 3 month old to go back to a job that I find challenging and rewarding and I can't fathom having to drop a 6 week old off at the daycare because I had to go back to work. I have a renewed respect for any mama doing her thing as best she can, this has been a magical and amazing but seriously humbling time for me. With this time I've been doing my best to drink in the last of summer; to stay present during the time I have off with my son, and eat as many tomatoes and ice cream cones as I can manage in good conscious before the bite returns to the air. Here in New England we've already had our fair share of fall feeling days, and at the market yesterday I was confronted with what I personally always see as the harbinger of autumn: Italian prune plums. I know, pumpkin spice lattes (or pumpkin spice everything) and apples are more traditional but these little beauties just seal the deal for me every year.
When Evan and I first moved in together (8 years ago now!) I had my first foray into food blogging (yes, with blogger, yikes) It was before I knew about social media, food styling, or how to take a halfway decent photo (not that I'm any great talent now) but the network of people I only barely tapped into exposed me to all kinds of things I had not been familiar with before, and a ginger plum upside down cake made to welcome bracing blue skies and the return to the exciting chill in the air was one of them. I made it 5 or 6 times when I'd find those plums in early September but I hadn't made the cake in ages - mostly because when I make any baked good Evan eats one piece and I could easily eat an entire cake on my own (but that doesn't mean I should). Now feels like a good time to revisit it with an older refocused eye.
The original cake I would make was an adaptation of a blueberry cake, but now as I considered it, I found myself in search of something less sweet, I figured a polenta cake was fitting given that these were 'Italian prune plums'. The resulting cake was incredibly moist - the result I think of using very ripe fruit, with no leavening. The moisture does have a silver lining though, this was perfect after it sat loosely covered - because honestly, when is the last time i ate something right after I made it? (answer: 11 weeks ago) - and makes a delicious accompaniment to coffee or tea in the afternoon but I also admit to eating it just once standing over the sink.