Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Bizcocho Borracho": Fresh Plum Cake with Orange-Brandy Syrup

Things have been pretty hectic around this household lately. The first semester of senior year is, I'm learning, a killer: I'm swimming in college applications right now, and even though I got started decently early, I'm still afraid I'm barely keeping my head above water. This week has seen a lot of apps, a lot of homework, and a lot of very long schooldays. Last night I decided to ignore my phone, my friends, and Facebook, and come straight home. Sometimes a girl just needs some baking therapy.


My parents have been talking about this one dream cake for about a year now. Apparently, one of my dad's students brought a really marvelous coffee cake to work, and they both got to try it. They've been asking for a replica ever since. The original was a plum cake with brandy and an orange syrup on top. You can imagine that I wasn't exactly opposed to the idea.


They described this cake as being plum-flavored, but not with whole pieces of plum in it. I started looking for plum cake recipes last night, but all I could find was tarts that have plum halves baked into the bottom. I didn't want to just use my All-Purpose Vegetable Cake with plum puree, since I've posted that recipe various times on this blog. Instead, I decided on a recipe that incorporates small pieces of plum into a spongy batter. The orange brandy syrup was my own addition.



When I sliced off a little square for my mom this morning, she said that a) it was very good, and b) "Está totalmente borracho, ¿no? "Bizcocho borracho" literally means "drunk cake" in Spanish, which is an excellent description for this cake. It's fruity and boozy, but since the brandy syrup is cooked, you can totally get away with serving it at breakfast.


Despite its array of flavors, this cake is wonderfully unpretentious. It is, as its great ancestor "The Mysterious Cake From Work," a simple coffee cake at heart. No fluffy icings or fillings or fruit coverings here; like a true lady, it has lots of flavor, but it doesn't make a scene.

I can't believe I just said that.


Anyways. College applications, transcripts, essays, and recommendations = good in the long term. Cake = good right now. Booze on top = even better.

Your Baking Soundtrack for Fresh Plum Cake with Orange-Brandy Syrup:
Life Won't Wait, Rancid
I am a tiny, tiny white-looking Hispanic girl who wants to bake for a living and listens to ska punk. I feel like Rancid would be totally cool with that.


Fresh Plum Cake
Adapted slightly from RecipeSecrets

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (canola or mild olive)
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup diced, fresh plums (about 1/4-inch pieces)

Grease an 8x8 inch square baking pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and flour.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until pale yellow and frothy, then add the oil and buttermilk.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.
Fold in the plums.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 300F for 1 hour.

Orange-Brandy Syrup

1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brandy

Combine the sugar, orange juice, and brandy in a small saucepan.
Cook uncovered, stirring constantly, for three minutes.
While the cake is still warm, poke holes in the top with a fork.
Apply the syrup to the top of the cake with a clean pastry brush.


  1. I'm with you about the urge to be by myself and bake sometimes. Just a 'me only' moment :). Love this cake!

  2. I know what you mean - sometimes you just want to shut out the world and bake. It's amazing what you guys have to go through to get to college - we have nothing like that If you get the marks, most courses let you in - very few require an interview.This cake looks fabbo - I also love the idea that it is "drunk"!

  3. Mmmm......looks delicious!! I've never made cake soaked in syrup before, because I like cake plain, but looking at this, I'll definitely have to try some time! It looks just as good as you described it =)

  4. Baking therapy sounds good, and the cake looks delicious, I too love a beautiful simple well cooked and fragrant cake.

    Oh and yes you can definitely make the lollipops with that marshmallow fondant - one of my very first posts was lollipop cookies with marshmallow fondant and I was actually making the lollipop cookies a few weeks back when I came up with the marshmallow ribbon idea :)

  5. There is nothing like some baking therapy to make a girl feel good. This bizcocho looks amazing!

  6. The inside of that cake looks sinful! Yum! Good luck with your college stuff.

  7. Yum!!! Can't wait to try this recipe for my family's annual Fall Harvest Dinner!!

  8. Wow - what an interesting sounding cake. Looks very moist and I can imagine its full of flavour too.

  9. wow looks so yummy.
    Can I have a piece?