Friday, January 24, 2014

Too Many Plums!

Well, I got a little over enthusiastic at our local growers market last weekend and came home with a very large bag of sweet, dark plums. Although I've eaten them with my lunch every day for the last week, today I found myself with a fruit bowl full of them, that were super ripe and needing to be eaten pretty much right away. The thought of eating 8 plums today was rather daunting so I decided to come up with a more creative way to use them.

What I came up with is a golden plum cake, that would be lovely for morning tea - or even served warm as a pudding with some cream or custard. I used the same concept as an upside down cake, laying some of the plums on the bottom of the cake tin, so that when you turn the cake out to cool, you get the effect of the gorgeous ruby colour. I also chose to bake the plums with a little sugar first, instead of just chopping them up and adding them to the cake batter. What this does is to intensify the flavour and also the colour of the plums.

I think this cake would work really well with any stone fruit - peaches, apricots or nectarines - or even with mangoes. Just see what you have in your fruit bowl if you don't happen to have plums.

Golden Plum Cake

You will need: 8 medium sized plums, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 250g butter, softened, 1 cup caster sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 eggs, 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour, 2/3 cup milk.

Method: Heat the oven to 200C.

Remove the seeds from the plums and cut them roughly into quarters. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the plums on the tray. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons caster sugar over the plums and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the plums from the oven and allow to cool a little.

Gently spoon the plums into a bowl, trying not to break them up too much. I use a slotted spoon for this, as it helps the extra moisture drain away - you don't want too much of the plum juice in the cake, just the cooked flesh. Set the plums aside.

Reduce the oven to 180C. Grease a cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.

Using an electric beater, cream together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla until it becomes fluffy and a little lighter in colour.

Add the eggs one by one and beat till all combined. Now stir in half the flour and half the milk (a spatula is good for this) Repeat with the rest of the flour and milk.

Take the plums and place a few of them on the base of your cake tin - this will end up being the top of the cake and the "presentation" side. Now gently fold the remaining plums through the cake mixture.

Pour the mixture into the cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour (this will depend on your oven, so just keep an eye on it) It will be cooked when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest in the pan for 10 minutes.

Turn out onto a wire rack and gently peel away the baking paper. Allow the cake to cool and serve as it is - or with whipped cream, ice cream or custard.


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