08 September 2011

A cake for when the plums come in

The plums are here... late, it seems, but maybe all the good sweet things seem late when your summer has been so wet. (Or as Clover would say, a big bummer.)

I love those little green Reine Claude gems of the plum world.

I often make "summer cake" (from Nigel Slater's 'Appetite') this time of year, but I had such success with my Nigel Slater recipe hybrid (details here), and a lovely colleague asked specially for the recipe, that I thought I had better try it again and this time, write down what I was doing. So I did. Let me know if you make it and how it turned out!

A cake with plums
(thanks for the motivation Azi!)
butter, room temperature, 175 g
caster sugar 175 g
3 eggs, room temperature
the zest, finely grated, and juice of 1 lemon
plain flour 175 g (I used farine de patisserie, which sounds fancy only because it is French; it is the local bog-standard flour for baking. It is the equivalent of what the Brits would call plain or cake flour - there is no added leavening. For the Americans good old all-purpose will do the trick; but if so, do not use the baking powder or baking soda I include here)
ground almonds 100 g
1/4 teaspoon (cuillère à café) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons (cuillère à soupe) plain yogurt
300 g plums - quartered, stoned, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180C/35F.
2. Grease and line your favourite cake tin - I used a spring form I think of about 23 cm diameter.
3. Beat together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition.
4. Separately, combine the dry ingredients with a whisk or a fork (or I suppose you could sift them).
5. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar-eggs mixture - be thorough but gentle, you don't want a tough cake.
6. Stir in the yogurt, then the plums (and their juices) and the lemon juice and zest.
7. If the batter doesn't seem wet enough, add some more yogurt.
8. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for  about 30-45 minutes. (I don't think it will be done in 30, but check just in case.) You may have to cover the top with greased paper if it starts to get too brown (it will depend on your oven).
9. Check the cake with a toothpick, feel for firmness and nothing soggy sticking to the toothpick when you pierce the cake. Let it rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a pretty plate.
10. Douse the top with powdered sugar - which I did but forgot to take a photo of.
11. Note, it is pretty good warm as the fruit will be all warm and that is lovely.

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