It definitely feels like harvest season here: the swallows and housemartins have departed, we are curing our bumper onion crop for the winter, and the trees on the steading are full of fruit. Our neighbour, Brenda, has several beautiful plum trees, which have been very productive this year. So productive, in fact, that Tom has been able to experiment with several different cakes, and plum jam also seems to be in the offing. We thought you might also enjoy the best of the cakes Tom has made with Brenda’s plums, so here’s the recipe. The addition of cardamon makes it deliciously fragrant (and frighteningly more-ish).

Brenda’s Plum Cake
(makes 22cm 8½ in square cake)

4 cardamom pods
500g / 17½ oz plums (about 16 medium sized fruits)
150g / 5¼ oz caster sugar
150g / 5¼ oz butter (softened)
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
75g / 2½ oz plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
100g / 3½ oz ground almonds
50g / 1¾ oz chopped roast hazelnuts


1)Lightly grease a 22x22cm / 8½ in square cake tin, then line with baking parchment.
2)Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan.
3)Crack open the cardamom pods, discard the green shells and grind the black seeds to a fine powder using a mortar and pestle.
4)Remove the stones from plums and cut them into quarters (or halves for smaller plums).
5)Beat the soft butter and sugar together with an electric beater until pale and fluffy.
6)Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat lightly.
7)With the electric mixer set to medium, slowly add the lightly beaten eggs to the creamed butter and sugar, ensuring the eggs are fully incorporated before adding more egg. If you keep your eggs in the fridge, allow them to come to room temperature before combining with the butter/sugar.
8)Sift the flour, baking powder and ground cardamom together.
9)Remove the butter/sugar/egg mix from the electric mixer and fold in the flour mix, by hand, using a large spoon. Do this gently to keep the mixture light and airy.
10)Fold in the ground almonds and chopped hazelnuts, and then spoon the mix into the prepared tin.
11)Place the chopped plums evenly over the top of the cake mixture.
12)Bake for 40-45 mins. The cake is done when it is risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
13)Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.


Eat and enjoy!

Finally, some good news this morning: we’ve been shortlisted for the “best use of social media” award by Business Women Scotland. Mel and I will be attending the award ceremony next month, and I promise to keep you posted!


42 thoughts on “Brenda’s plum cake

  1. Kate,
    I have a suggestion for the plethora of plums. Make Plum Liqueur. I used to make it with vodka. There are a number of recipes on the web. Have fun.


  2. Please tell Tom that the recipe works well with peaches and nectaries, which are in abundance at the farmers’ market where we live. I didn’t have any cardamom, so I just thru in some of this (nutmeg) and some of that (cinnamon), plus lemon juice to keep the fruit pretty and lemon zest. It was delicious!


  3. Thank you for this wonderful receipe. This is truly a delicious cake. I made it last night and as it baked a sweet, warm and mellow frangrance tinted of cardamone spreaded around the house….


  4. Hi Kate

    I’m sure you’ll get lots of suggestions, but in case Tom has more plums to use up, this is my favorited way,+ellie+topp&source=bl&ots=_URKRpBkcu&sig=DfoOezNBbb3uOHA1xMdKsA23uSg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwii56X_mpDPAhUB1oMKHcg6D1oQ6AEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=spiced%20plum%20butter%20recipe%2C%20ellie%20topp&f=false

    Spiced plum butter. I make it with small Italian prune plums, so use around 30, rather than the 10 called for.


  5. KDD is definitely award-worthy, and Tom’s cakes should be entered in the show! The recipe has been saved for when our satsumas, currently blossoming, are ready. As an aside, I have found rose water to add a lovely complementary fragrance to plum jam.


  6. Congratulations on making the shortlist and good luck. I’ll have to try the cake recipe when our plum trees have fruit again. At the moment we’re just seeing the first blossom. I love the spice/plum combination; I make plum jam with cardamon.


  7. That looks beyond tasty. I’ve only had plum cake once in my life, many years ago, but now I’m thinking it’s time to try it again.


  8. Oh, does that cake ever look yummy! We are being battered by a tropical storm right now, but next week, when the weather clears, I think I shall bake a celebratory plum cake! Thank you.


  9. Congratulations Kate on being on the short list, your blog and instagram are always inspiring reads and a real treat for soe eyes….I often add a couple o crushed cardamon pods to the the jam pan when I make plum jam, star anise is a nice plum spice too.


  10. Congratulations on making the short list. Tom’s recipe looks fabulous. I love any/all things cardamom, and use it daily — such an underutilized and aromatic spice! I am going to make this with local organic pluots and convert it into gluten free by substituting the scant amount of flour. And I’m going to try using honey instead of sugar. Can’t wait, and thank you for sharing!


  11. Kate – reverting to the health benefits of swimming – did you happen to catch David Attenborough on the Aquatic Ape theory on Radio 4 this morning? Part 2 tomorrow morning at 9. If we are all water babies by evolution, no wonder being in the water has such a deeply good effect on us. You’d enjoy reading Elaine Morgan, the original ‘populariser’ of the theory – a wonderful, humorous writer and a feminist of the 1970s school who, as Attenborough says, doesn’t mince words when debunking the dominant Hairy Horrible Hunter theory (some good quotes in the programme). Attenborough at his least ‘pillar of the establishment’ and most ‘committed transmitter of fascinating life science’. Highly recommended.


    1. Ah – Tom and I were talking about Elaine Morgan last night after hearing a trailer for the Attenborough programme – I’ve been looking forward to it but was ironically swimming this morning when it was on – I will catch up this evening!


  12. Congratulations on being short listed, good luck with that. That plum cake looks absolutely delicious even though it needs to be baked on the surface of the sun :) Is Tom planning on releasing any more of his recipes?


  13. I’m new to the blog and was reading past knitting articles. Surprised the latest post is about a cake, but it looks delicious. The photos compositions are also really nice.


  14. My mother’s fork resting against that beautiful cake! I have a drawer full of that same flatware I grew up with — will have to make the cake.


  15. Congrats on the award… Social media, that’s interesting.. I have noticed over the years that seem to be on Instagram and tweeter but not on Facebook, not as KDD anyway… Why not? :)


  16. Your posts are such visual, well written and creative delights. KDD deserves the reward! Your blog posts, so far, are the only ones I read. I always come away with a full body, feel-good experience.
    I do not usually partake in this sort of crumb-cake dessert, but the photos are so sumptuous I might try it!


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