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!