The month of February, février, is an odd month. Short, always confusing as I never can remember how many days there will be each year, cold when we are in the Northern hemisphere — on the North-Eastern coast of the US especially — but also a month with a lot of memories of winter seasons spent in the French Alps skiing. I grew up with it. February is also a special month because of reference days, at least for me.
For most people, February 13th is a day like any other day. Except if your first name is Béatrice, like mine, and you live in a country where Saints are celebrated, and by extension people’s first names. In France, we celebrate people’s first names, and so it turns out that everyone has une fête (a feast) to celebrate: the fête of your first name. On Feb 13 th, we celebrate Saint Béatrice. Moi! Not that I am exactly a saint, but this is a detail that no one cares about any longer. What does usually happen on your fête then, you may ask? Maybe you receive a bunch of flowers and a few nice cards, a friend or your husband or wife takes you out for a drink, lunch or dinner, and typically family, friends and co-workers wish you une bonne fête. A good way to feel special. Every day, one of the last pieces of information given on the French TV News Report is to announce whose fête it will be the following day. There is no excuse to forget. In my family, we rarely forget, expect for my brother B. who has never been into these types of celebrations anyway. When I met P. over ten years ago, he was completely new to the idea. He, however, loved it right away, all excited at the prospect that from then on, he would have a new special day to celebrate during the year. “C’est mon fête aujourd’hui (It is my fête today), I heard him say all day on the day of his fête. “On ne dit pas mon fête, mais ma fête !, (We do not say mon fête but ma fête) I replied . I should never have corrected him. I loved to hear him say this incorrectly so much. Oddly enough, P’s fête is the day just before my birthday. Speak about a coincidence. I certainly have no excuse to forget either.
Hence February has these connotations for me. On February 4th, we celebrate Véronique, my mum’s fête, on the 13th mine and just right after of course, there is Valentine’s day. Typically, P. and I like to celebrate February 13th and 14th together. We do not make it over the top, preferring to keep it simple. If we could, we would even choose to go out for a picnic. Not so convenient in February though, we reckon. As I was brainstorming to find what would make the two of us happy, I had an idea. I could have thought of making a decadent dessert, creamy, rich and chocolaty but instead, because I have been obsessed with finding the perfect recipe for a spongy-like cake with fresh fruit, reminiscent of the delicious pineapple upside-down cake recently eaten at Upstairs on the Square with a friend of mine, I choose to make a plum cake. You are hearing well, and I can sense that you are already loudly thinking “Totally wrong season!” Agreed. I can confess that I went to buy a fruit that is surely not in season, but I did not even feel bad about it. I love plums — les prunes. After all, since it will soon be my fête, I thought I could very well please my taste buds. The plums I purchased came from Chile and were not even too bad for this time of year. The idea of using smaller individual molds made these little cakes look fun (thank you Ninnie for the lovely paper molds!), the hearts of course peppier. Quite appropriate after all, don’t you then agree?
Happy Valentine’s Day. Say it with a plum cake!
It might be worth checking when your fête is as you might also like the idea to feel special one extra day of the year.
Enough to be seduced by it? I would! So I will make it my entry for the Sugar High Friday Event of this month, called Sweet Temptation, hosted by Jasmine.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- Plums (about 4 large)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 7 Tbsp butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder and ground cardamom. Keep
- Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and work until lighter, about 3 to 4 mns.
- Add the eggs, one after the other, making sure to mix well between each.
- Add 1/3 of th dry ingredients. Mix well and add half of the milk and the vanilla extract. Mix until all the liquid is absorbed. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients again, mix and then add the rest of the milk. Finish with the last third of the dry ingredients.
- Grease a mold and sprinkle it with flour (or use individual molds). Fill 3/4 full.
- Wash your plums and slice them. Place them on top of the batter, pushing down on them gently.
- Preheat your oven at 350 F and cook for about 40 to 50 mns for a large cake, less for small ones. Check regularly. Remove from the oven and wait for a few mns before unmolding.
- 180 g de farine
- Prunes (Environ 4 grosses)
- 150 g de sucre
- 100 g de beurre à température ambiante
- 2 gros oeufs
- 1,5 càc de levure chimique
- 80 ml de lait entier
- 1/4 càc de sel
- 1/2 càc de cardamome en poudre
- 1 càc d’extrait de vanille liquide
- Dans une jatte, mélangez la farine, le sel, la levure et la cardamome en poudre. Réservez.
- Dans le bol d’un robot à pied, mettez le beurre et le sucre et travaillez-les deux en pommade (environ 3 à 4 mns).
- Ajoutez ensuite les oeufs, 1 à 1, en mélangeant bien à chaque fois.
- Ajoutez ensuite 1/3 de la préparation sèche. Mélangez et ajoutez ensuite la moitié du lait et l’extrait de vanille. Recommencez avec la farine, puis le lait avant de finir avec le reste de préparation sèche.
- Beurrez et farinez un grand moule ou des petits moules individuels. Remplissez-les aux 3/4.
- Lavez vos prunes et coupez-les en tranches. Disposez-les sur la pâte, en les enfonçant légèrement.
- Cuisez au four préchauffé à 180 C pendant environ 40 à 50 mns pour un grand gâteau, moins pour les petits. Vérifiez en cours de cuisson. Sortez du four et attendez quelques minutes avant de démouler.
a moi le 1er commentaire !! Hum ces petits gateaux aux prunes ! J’en ai ds mon congelateur… je sens que je ne vais pas tarder a tester cette recette !
Merci pr ttes ces belles photos et recettes !
Quelles photos magnifiques! L’aspect esthétique est pour moi très important en cuisine, et chez toi on n’est jamais déçu. Le mariage des prunes et de la cardamome que j’adore doit être divin…
si elles savaient les prunes comme elles sont belles…
Those little heart shapped cakes are too adoreable!
Des cakes coeurs pour un programme douceur !
que vois je?? de la cardamome? de la vanille? des prunes? et plein de jolis coeurs? c’est le mien qui est conquis maintenant! photos sublimes pour une invitation à la gourmandise tout en douceur…j’adore!
I especially love the little round cakes! I agree about plums — sometimes there is just no substitute for a plum warmed by the oven. How lovely that you have your own fete day. I don’t think there’s a Ste. Lydia….is there?
Where did you get those round molds/cups? Very cute!
This is so cool!
I live in a country that is very connected with their saints – a Catholic majority – but we don’t celebrate names! 🙁
These cakes are terrific, I love prunes as well and to have such delicate and delicious treats like those must be something! 🙂
Toujours magnifique… Ils sont très mignons ces petits gâteaux, et ils ont l’air d’être tout moelleux.
Hi, these look beautiful… but the country name is Chile and the powder is chili…
And in those heart pans they are so sweet.
avoir sa fête la veille de la st valentin, voilà enfin une réelle et merveilleuse raison de faire fête! moi qui ne suis pas archifan de cette occasion que je trouve un peu trop commerciale, tu viens de me donner une terrible envie de la fêter, et oui! je dois maintenant faire ton plum cake (quelle douce sonorité!)
You’ve done some great cooking! I love all things with cooked fruit, so I may give this recipe a try!
Bea,what a coincidence tha twe both made plum deserts in Feb. I have posted a plum cake desert in the portuguese version of my blog but haven’t translated it yet.http://trembom.blogspot.com/2007/02/bolinhos-de-ameixas-e-pistache-com-um.html
I love your cakes and would lhave loved to have had a bite. Happy Saint’s day!!
These look lucious. My family is from Mexico so we do celebrate el dia de nuestro santo which means saint’s day. My middle name is Natalia which is the saint from the day I was born, December 1st and the other name is Cecilia (Mexicans have lots of names) and I celebrate St. Cecilia’s day.
Thank you for your receipts, they are wonderful. Here is a little something for you since you love chocolate so much.
hey bea! advanced happy hearts day to you! lovely as ever and i’m sure delicious too, now that i’ve learned to love plums;)
Bea, it’s always the season for beautiful, heartfelt food! I love the heart-shaped molds. I hope you have a wonderful fête!
In Italian, when it is your Saint’s Day, we say “Buon Onomastico”!
Could you please stop being so perfect? You put the rest of us modest bloggers to shame!
Seriously though, another great recipe. When are they anything but??
Very nice the apple-muffin is!
i like the heart one! ^^
Bonne Fete, avec de l’avance….grace a mon vrai prenom Marie-Helene, je peux feter ca 2 fois, sauf que mon mari oubli tout le temps!
Ces petits gateaux sont superbes! Ou a tu trouver ces moules en papier?
Woow! you’re lucky to have so many ‘fetes’ to celebrate Bea!Your molds are ever so cute!
Every single last one of those photos are amazing. Nice job!
I LOVE those paper molds! So rustic and yet elegant at the same time. However, Bea, I am convinced that you could bake a cake in a dirty old sock and it would come out fabulous! Thanks for another gorgeous post.
Magnifique, comme d’habitude ! De superbes photos qui illustrent à merveille une recette appétissante !
Qu’est-ce qu’ils sont mignons tes gateaux coeur, si mignons qu’on ne t’en veut meme pas d’acheter des prunes en Fevrier 🙂
Would you know, I’m looking at your wonderful photos & recipes and it is ‘ma fete’ today 8th February!
Absolutely love your site Bea.
I enjoyed reading your story. And the heart molds are perfect since your amazing creations could only be the result of your loving attention to detail.
What a lovely tradition — I could surely use a fete myself!
c’est TROP beau !!!
Bon c’est quand que tu ouvres un restaurant…parce qu’avec des recettes et compositions pareilles…juste merveilleux, bravo
Je suis ravie que tu leur aies trouvé une si belle utilisation à ces jolis moules de papier. Je suis aussi fan de chocolat, mais j’apprécie de temps à autre les desserts moins intenses et plus doux, exactement comme celui que tu nous présentes ici.
I was wondering if you would mind writing an entry about your collection of tartlet forms one day. I have often marveled that you seem to show a different form in almost every picture. How many do you have of each one? Did you purchase them all yourself, or were many given to you as gifts? I think anything you have to write on the matter would be most interesting to read. Thanks for such a great blog! I really enjoy it.
I love your heart shaped plum cakes they are so cute and Valentine-ish!! Feb 13th means my bday, so I’ll be remembering your fete now too 🙂
What lovely little cakes. I saw Julia Child eat a cake with plums like yours and she loved it so much she started to cry! It was so sweet. I love the idea of having a special day celebrating your name. We need to have that in this country! I feel very cheated! My husband is Czech-American, and they celebrate each person’s name too!!!
the thought of them just warm me up on this cold day!
Lovely as always. Now you have me craving plums!
Looks like a good reason to break out some of my unusually shaped tart pans. Always great photos.
Cher: You are right, I´m czech too, and my “svátek”, as we call it, is on the february 21th, so it´s inpiration for me..
Again to Cher: But if you wont, we have the name whitch sounds similar to Cher – it is written Šárka (like Shaarka), you can celebrate on the 30. June
Bea, last week I bought some strawberries import from Mexico, delicious! Glad other countries solve our problem of fruit shortage. Your plum cakes look seductive and romatic! And happy St. Beatrice Day (hope it’s the right way to say to you :D)
Oh Bea, these are beautiful! I actually have a couple plums sitting around that could use a good home in a cake like this!
Corinne, j’espère que tu vas les aimer!
Claire. merci beaucoup. Très gentil à toi.
Veronica, ah oui, c’est vrai!
Jeff, yes they are, aren’t they? 😉
Eva. oui, tout à fait. Merci de ton commentaire.
Noémie, ravie que cela te plaise. De la vraie gourmandise, mais on a le droit
en février, n’est-ce pas?
Lydia, oh yes you do have a fête, on August 3d!
Fern, Ninnie a lovely fellow blogger from Montréal sent them to me.
Patricia, how strange, I would have thought that a country, catholic like Brazil would have celebrated Saints.
Kim, ahah thanks for the correction.
Michelle, thanks. Sweet like a heart!
Alhya, ah mais oui, c’est une belle coincidence, pas vrai? De plus en plus,
je trouve très sympa de marquer des journées spéciales comme celle-là! Tout va toujours trop vite autrement.
Bart, thank you! I hope you do give it a try.
Valentina, ah nice indeed. I will have a look! I need to English version soon,please please!
Gina, ah nice! I like to hear in what country this tradition is celebrated. I like your tradition. ANd thanks for the link! Much appreciated.
Anita, thanks again my dear.
Ivonne, oh cool. Now I will know how to say so in Italian.
Scott, ahah, not at all! You are too sweet, really! Glad you like them though!
Yoyo, thank you!
Helen, c’est Ninnie qui me les a gentillement envoyés de Montréal! C’est écrit dans mon billet 😉
ValentinA, thank you! Yes love to celebrate this fête.
Kristen, thank you!
Kevin, no no, you are just too nice! I can tell you that I also have my failures! I will have to share them too!
Ingrid, merci à toi, encore une fois.
Gracianne, ah ben t’es bien gentille, car j’avais quand même une hésitation!
Jacqueline, oh so nice! Bonne fête alors!
Susan, thank you, That is a very nice note you are sending me.
Christine, you have one. Yours is on July 24th.
Claude, ah mais non, tu sais un restaurant, c’est une autre histoire. Mais c’est gentil d’y croire pour moi.
Ninnie, ah mais merci à toi. Tu vois bien comme ils ont du succès ces moules adorables.
LavidaMD, this is a great idea! I will definitely do it. Not sure when I can squeeze this in, but I hope soon. Thanks for a great suggestion.
Bahar, ah nice. I will know it is your bday then! Happy birthday in anticipation!
Sher, this is a sweet story. I could have cried too! ANd nice to hear that this tradition is also applied in the Czeck Republic! Thanks for letting me know.
Connie, nice. Cold but sunny!
Peabody, thank you!
Eric, yes what kind of molds do you have? Thanks again
Lenka, thank you! Yes totally the right way to say it.
Gattina, yes this is a great point that you are bringing up.
Gilly, thank you. Hope you find a good way to use them.
Comme d’habitude les photos sont magnifiques.
La recette est presque envoutante …
I don’t think there is a Saint Bronwyn 🙁
No problem finding nice plums here at the moment though 😉
Great stuff as always Béa!
You have such a lovely blog..Simply loved it
“For most people, February 13th is a day like any other day.”… non non non! pas pour moi! C’est mon anniversaire! 🙂 et je sais bien qu’il tombe à la St Béatrice… Par contre, même si je semble venir d’un coin de Lorraine pas bien loin du tiens, chez nous, nous ne fetions pas du tout les saints, et au final, je n’ai jamais su quand ma fête tombait!
D-Day! bonne fête béa!
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I cooked this cake for my husband for Valentine’s Day and we both loved it. Delicious. Thank you!
Grignote and Bron, merci!
Loukoum, merci bien a toi!
Sushma, thanks so much.
Vic, this is so nice to hear. I am really delighted! Thank you for letting me know.
Oh, and did not know about it. Thanks for the information …
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Hi, i just wanted to say thanks for the recipe, i just made them and they tasted great, a big hit! I made the recipe as directed except that i made 12 plum cupcakes instead. Thanks again and i’m glad that yours was one of the first sights that popped up when i googled plum recipes. 😉