“She’s not an eater, Stephen.”  This was the assessment many years ago of my Jewish boyfriend’s mother.  She had trekked down from New York, bringing white fish, bagels from Zabar’s, and her very own chopped chicken liver and smaltz in separate Tupperware containers.

Well, I’m an eater now.  I eat when I’m happy and I especially eat when I’m depressed which means I’ve been cooking a lot lately.  My candidate, whose communications director I was, lost the primary. This is depressing because he was a true public servant, and, because, I now don’t have a job.  Again.

So, between bouts of lanquishing in the Slough of Despond, I’ve been cooking.  And this being Keat’s ” season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,”  full of “fruit with ripeness to the core,” I’ve been making jams and jellies, chutneys and, most recently, a plum cake.   The plum cake was occasioned by the gift of a small bottle of schnapps made by nuns in a convent in Leichtenstein.  It is especially easy because I used boxed yellow cake mix, the kind that you add a stick of butter to.

Herewith:  Easy Plum Cakes (This recipe makes two)

Enough plums, halved, to cover  (2) ceramic or glass pie pans

Duncan Hines Golden Butter Cake mix

1½ sticks of butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2/3ds cup water



Vanilla extract

Optional (schnapps or brandy)

Cut plums in half, stem to stern; remove seed.   Place cut side down in a large shallow glass dish.   Pour on liquor and let marinate for two hours.

Place plums cut side down in well buttered pans (be generous with the butter because otherwise the plums may stick; they may stick anyway).

Next make a simple caramel sauce with 1 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup water.  (You can use some of the liquor from the plums.)  Heat the sugar/water mixture without stirring (though you can swirl the pan from time to time) until the sugar is a beautiful light golden brown.  Pour hot sauce directly over plums.

Now here’s the easiest part.  One box of butter yellow cake mix, the kind that requires the addition of a stick of melted butter.  Follow package directions. I add nutmeg and cinnamon and extra vanilla to the mix, but you don’t have to do anything.   Pour the cake mixture over the plums to cover.

Put pans  in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until cake is done.  Straight from the oven, invert cake onto a serving plate.   Let cool.  Dust with powered or granulated sugar.

For a more formal dessert, serve with sour cream, whipped cream, Devonshire cream or, to really gild the lily, ice cream.

Eat.  There.  I feel better already.

Melkam Megeb.  Bon appetit. Buen provecho. Mànmàn chī! Guten Appetit! Dober tek! Selamat makan! Nush olsun! Svādiṣṭ khānā