When I was growing up in our house in Boise, I would jump on the trampoline in the backyard and look over the fence at our next-door neighbors' mini-orchard. At the time, these neighbors were sourpusses and were often perturbed about the goings-on at our house, from pool parties to even my sister's alarm clock going off in the morning. They built the fence when I was still small, and I remember how one of their raspberry bushes would creep through the cracks and over the top to our side. I got quite the thrill from peeking through those cracks to make sure they weren't outside and then picking a few berries. Sometimes I worried that they were poisonous berries because it seemed like the type of thing these kinds of neighbors would do to teach a little girl a lesson.

In hindsight, I'm sure they were very nice people, and maybe we happened to live next to them during a difficult time in their lives. I wonder whatever happened to them. These days, a nice German woman and her husband live there. She gave my mom a goodly quantity of Italian plums from those trees, which Mom and Dad brought with them on their recent visit. Mom left the rest with me, and I've been keeping them cold, waiting for a nice weekend afternoon to make a Pflaumenkuchen. Today was the day.
This is one of my most favorite cakes. It's the simplest recipe and just the right amount of sweet. And it's even better with a little whipped cream or dusting of powdered sugar and a cup of tea. The recipe I have is from a Sunset cookbook from the 1970s which suggests any number of other fruits - nectarines, pears, whatever you have - but plums are always the prettiest.

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