Plum cake

Plum cake

My guest “Cooking With Beth Blog” contributor, Waltraud Unger, a board certified integrative health and nutrition coach, and mom, has shared a fall recipe. An active member of Temple Israel and JCC in Ridgewood, her approach to optimum health and wellness is based on bio-individuality and the integration of unprocessed, natural foods into one’s daily program. She works with individuals, families, and schools through counseling, lectures and cooking demonstrations and can be reached via e-mail at or visit

The Joys of Fall

I love easy summer living and the wonderful time having the children home. September is bittersweet as we transition to the varying schedules of the family and the preparation for the upcoming holidays. One of my greatest joys of September is the ripening of the Italian prune plum, my absolute favorite fruit. The Italian plum is a small but sweet purple plum with great flavor to eat raw or use in baking. I found my first box of Italian plums at last week’s farmers market. Heidi Swanson, a natural foods cookbook author and photographer, lists a recipe for buttermilk cake with plums in her new cookbook “Super Natural Every Day.” I had to try it, with a few minor changes of course, as I never follow a recipe exactly. The result was a delicious and moist cake, worthy of a holiday table such as the breaking of the Yom Kippur fast. Take a look and give it a try! -WU

Buttermilk Plum Cake

Adapted from Heidi Swanson: “Super natural every day”


Serves 10 to 12

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating pan
2 1/2 cups whole-grain spelt flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 teaspoon of lemon extract
9 ripe Italian plums, cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 11-inch round tart or quiche pan.

Whisk flour, baking powder, cane sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Create a well in the flour mixture and add eggs and buttermilk. Whisk the melted butter, lemon zest and lemon extract into the buttermilk mixture. Slowly incorporate the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Arrange plums across the top. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake has set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spelt flour is an ancient relative to our current wheat. It has a unique nutty flavor and its vital nutrients are more effectively absorbed into the body. Many people find spelt easier to digest than regular wheat.

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