Baking With the Peace Corps: Steamed Plum Cake

// Secondary Title: Now We’re Cookin’ With Steam!//

I met Alison during orientation before freshman year of college. We immediately gravitated toward each other. We took the other one out to dinner, and to movies – we even caught a ride in a horse-drawn carriage on a snowy night, compliments of an Axe Body Spray campus promotion. I traveled to Poland for a semester, she went to Morocco, I moved to New York, we lived together for two years, she moved to Washington D.C. – we’ve talked each other through a lot of situations, incidents, men, food, love, and had just a whole bunch of laughs.
She’s living in a small village in Jordan now, working with the Peace Corps. She’s been there for about a year and a half at this point. She works at a girls school, teaching English and putting her mark on so many other things, too. She’s started a community garden at the school, works with a summer camp for the arts, teaches English to Syrian refugees, painted her school – she really doesn’t stop. In the middle of all of this, she jetted back to the U.S. for our wedding in February. I couldn’t even believe it when she said she’d be here.
Because of mega-awesome technology, we chat online SO much. She doesn’t have an oven in her apartment, but she does have a couple of burners and access to, what seems to be the most gorgeous fruit ever. Pomegranates, persimmons, apricots, dates, plums, lemons, olives… I’m always just blown away. She asked if I had any recipes for steamed cakes, recently. I don’t really steam anything, ever! I love the taste of browned goodness, from the most perfect Maillard reaction. So I don’t really steam things.  But I thought that maybe if she browned some fruit in butter and sugar first, then poured cake batter on top to steam, she’d still get the flavor of browning, without needing an oven.

These photos are her result. !!! Can you even believe it?! I begged her to take photos of the process and was just in awe of how pretty the whole thing turned out, NOT TO MENTION the insane color of those plums. Have you ever in your whole life, seen such a bright magenta color from nature??

We are lucky to have gals like Alison, running around, making an impact in the world. Below is a picture of my dog, Sally.