Plums. Glorious purple, red, maroon juicy plums – delicious as they are but the perfect answer to all manner of puddings, breakfasts, cakes or tarts. It is getting a little late in the season but there are still plenty around so grab them when you can. Stewed plums (a compote if you prefer) with Greek yogurt for breakfast, perhaps with a little granola on top for crunch, little plum tarts quick to make on bought puff pastry, their edges sticky and sweet with plum juice. Or a good old fashioned plum crumble – with custard or thick cold cream – wonderful, and the perfect comfort food now the weather has turned so chilly. It you see them on special offer buy a load and make the easiest jam to see you through the winter, good on toast, good in tarts. Now I think of it I am sure there is some sort of Eastern European plum brandy I haven’t tried making yet….
This week we used plums in Patricks’ Plum Cake, so called because my little boy helped me when I was working on this. He was inordinately proud of it, quite rightly, it is a delicious autumn variation on my Raspberry and Almond Cake. You can add a little almond extract with the vanilla to beef up the almond flavour or stick with just the vanilla if you prefer. Can’t help thinking it would make a pretty good pudding with some warm custard too.
Patrick’s Plum Cake (Plum and Almond Cake)
150g soft butter
150g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teasp vanilla and 1/2 teasp almond)
3 tablespoons milk
5 or 6 ripe plums, sliced
Icing sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180. Grease and baseline a 20cm square tin. Cream the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes until fluffy and lighter in colour. Add the eggs one at a time with a teaspoon of flour. When they are incorporated fold in the remaining flour, baking powder, almonds, vanilla extract and milk. Put half the mixture in the prepared tin, scatter over the plums in an even layer and top with the remaining mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer is removed clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with icing sugar if you like before serving.