Plum Cake Cockaigne

We are approaching peak plum season in the Pacific Northwest, and this simple cake is by far our favorite way to mark the occasion. Marion added this recipe to Joy in 1963--the first edition she revised after Irma passed away. She marked recipes that emerged from her kitchen with the appellation “Cockaigne,” the medieval French name of a mythical land of abundance where rivers run with wine, houses are made of cake, and roast fowl roam the streets, asking to be eaten. I imagine plum trees with ripe fruit would dot such a landscape, their branches lowering for the convenience of those who pass by. Until we find this magical land, this glistening plum cake will suffice!


Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan. Sift together into a bowl:

1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (25g) sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


3 tablespoons (45g) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes 

Using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Beat well in a measuring cup:

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Enough milk to make 1/2 cup 

(If the fruit to be used is very juicy, reduce the liquid by 1 tablespoon.) Stir into the flour and butter to make a stiff dough. Pat or spread the dough into the prepared pan. Arrange on top of the dough in tight overlapping rows:

4 cups sliced pitted plums 

Combine and sprinkle over the fruit:

1 cup white (200g) or packed brown sugar (230g)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, melted 

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.


“Cooking shouldn’t just be about making a delicious dish—owning the process and enjoying the experience ought to be just as important as the meal itself. The new Joy of Cooking is a reminder that nothing can compare to gathering around the table for a home cooked meal with the people who matter most.” —Joanna Gaines, author of The Magnolia Table

“Generation after generation, Joy has been a warm, encouraging presence in American kitchens, teaching us to cook with grace and humor. This luminous new edition continues on that important tradition while seamlessly weaving in modern touches, making it all the more indispensable for generations to come.” —Samin Nosrat, author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

In the nearly ninety years since Irma S. Rombauer self-published the first three thousand copies of Joy of Cooking in 1931, it has become the kitchen bible, with more than 20 million copies in print. This new edition of Joy has been thoroughly revised and expanded by Irma’s great-grandson John Becker and his wife, Megan Scott.

John and Megan developed more than six hundred new recipes for this edition, tested and tweaked thousands of classic recipes, and updated every section of every chapter to reflect the latest ingredients and techniques available to today’s home cooks. Their strategy for revising this edition was the same one Irma and Marion employed: Vet, research, and improve Joy’s coverage of legacy recipes while introducing new dishes, modern cooking techniques, and comprehensive information on ingredients now available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores.

You will find tried-and-true favorites like Banana Bread Cockaigne, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Southern Corn Bread—all retested and faithfully improved—as well as new favorites like Chana Masala, Beef Rendang, Megan’s Seeded Olive Oil Granola, and Smoked Pork Shoulder. In addition to a thoroughly modernized vegetable chapter, there are many more vegan and vegetarian recipes, including Caramelized Tamarind Tempeh, Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu, Spicy Chickpea Soup, and Roasted Mushroom Burgers. Joy’s baking chapters now include gram weights for accuracy, along with a refreshed lineup of baked goods like Cannelés de Bordeaux, Rustic No-Knead Sourdough, Ciabatta, Chocolate-Walnut Babka, and Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza, as well as gluten-free recipes for pizza dough and yeast breads.

A new chapter on streamlined cooking explains how to economize time, money, and ingredients and avoid waste. You will learn how to use a diverse array of ingredients, from amaranth to za’atar. New techniques include low-temperature and sous vide cooking, fermentation, and cooking with both traditional and electric pressure cookers. Barbecuing, smoking, and other outdoor cooking methods are covered in even greater detail.

This new edition of Joy is the perfect combination of classic recipes, new dishes, and indispensable reference information for today’s home cooks. Whether it is the only cookbook on your shelf or one of many, Joy is and has been the essential and trusted guide for home cooks for almost a century. This new edition continues that legacy.


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