Naughty naughty plums. I do try to buy regional and seasonal fruit and veg but I just couldn't say no to these South African beauties when I saw them languishing in my local supermarket. Things just get too depressing on the fruit front during the long English winter, it's all citrus, more citrus and increasingly pathetic apples and pears. Come ooooon rhubarb, I can't wait.
Plums have that smokey sweetness that lends itself well to pairings with spices and meats. I reckon this recipe can easily be altered to include fresh grated ginger or any other slightly fiesty flavouring. This version uses mandarin zest, cardamom and cinnamon.
(Loosely adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
- 220g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 70g butter
- 50g caster sugar
- 100g brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated lemon or orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5-6 plums, halved and stones removed
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/375F and butter and flour a loose-bottomed or springform 20cm cake tin.
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat the butter for 3 minutes at medium-high speed until nice and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue mixing for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix again until each egg is well incorporated.
4. Add the oil, vanilla and citrus zest and mix until you get a lovely silky mixture
5. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just incorporated.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Stud the cake with the halved plums, skin-side down, cut side up.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until the cake is well risen a skewer inserted into its midst comes out clean. Cool on a rack before unmoulding, then serve with tea and a rainy January afternoon.