The thing I love about plums - actually, there are several things I love about plums, this is just one of them - is the way they just seem to go on and on, one variety after another appearing each week at the market, so that plum season seems to linger well into autumn. After all the other stone fruit have finished for the season, the plums keep coming making it feel as though summer is lingering just that little bit longer.
After picking up a few kilos of plums at the market the other week, and having made a couple of batches of jam, I was in the mood for plum cake. Flicking through Annabel Langbein's book More Taste Than Time, Fast Track Food for Busy People (a great book I've had in my collection for a long time), I came across her recipe for French Plum Cake. Spiked with vanilla and lemon it sounded delicious, but it also seemed very "summery" and I was looking for something that felt a little more autumnal.
Then it came to me. Having been in the midst of preserving season, I had been looking around at lots of books on canning and preserving lately. In my search, I had stumbled across Canning for a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavours for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissof. I've not added this one to the collection yet, though it's on the wishlist, but after reading all the reviews and all the raves for the plum cardamom jam, I've been obsessed with that flavour combination ever since.
This seemed like the perfect inspiration for "autumnising" my cake. So I added in the cardamom, obviously; I also left out the lemon, and replaced the sugar with brown sugar for a little more depth of flavour. This is a big recipe, and although the original recipe calls for baking in two round springform tins, I baked one large "slab" cake in a brownie tin.
This makes a delicious dessert cake - also fabulous for breakfast! It's best eaten warm on the day it's baked, and I loved it with a dollop of thick Greek-style yoghurt or a drizzle of runny cream. Would be wonderful too with some good vanilla ice cream. As I mentioned, this makes a lot of cake, and unless you're feeding a pretty big crowd you're going to have a lot of leftover cake. This is not a bad thing, as this cake freezes exceptionally well. Baking in a rectangular tin, meant that it was easy to cut into perfect, serving-size squares, with a plum half in each portion. Once cut into portions, I wrapped each one in clingfilm and stashed them in the freezer - once thawed, 30 seconds in the microwave is all it takes for the perfect breakfast on the run or a quick mid-week dessert.
Plum & Cardamom Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Annabel Langbein from
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe
8x fresh plums
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
300g (10-1/2 oz) butter
3x free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (I used Heilala)
1 cup milk
3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Lightly grease a 22cm x 32cm (8-1/2" x 12-1/2") brownie pan, and line tin with parchment paper - you want the parchment paper to overhang the sides a bit so that once cooked you can lift the cake out of the tin rather than inverting it.
In a small bowl combine the first measure of brown sugar and cardamom. Halve the plums, remove the stones, and put the plum halves into a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar and cardamom, and toss through the plums. Set aside for about 45 minutes.
In another bowl, cream together the butter and the second measure of brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to make sure each egg is full combined. Stir in the vanilla paste.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and second measure of ground cardamom. Now add the milk and sifted dry ingredients in batches, alternating between the two.
Once everything has been incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared tin, and arrange the plums (cut side up) in rows on top of the batter. Just sit them on top - as the cake cooks, they will sink down into the batter. Drizzle any fruit and sugar juices from the plums over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 55-65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
This will be my submission this month to Sweet New Zealand, inspired by Alessandra Zecchini and hosted this month by the lovely Lesley at eat, etc ... - can't wait to see what sweet treats everyone has come up with this month.