It is nearly the end of summer. Although we have not had many days of intense sunshine, I was glad that the cooler weather made our nighttime sleep more comfortable. We have not had a hosepipe ban as we did last year.
This is the season for plums and I really love Victoria plums, for their combination of thin sour skins and sweet juicy flesh. They taste so good slightly chilled from the fridge. However there are sometimes smaller plums which you know will never fully ripen. These are the plums to use for baking. Ground almonds add a dense and most texture to the cake, and the ginger (stem, syrup and fresh) adds warmth.
I served the cake after a lunch of chicken, leek and mushroom pie, with some ladies from my Bible study group. After they left and I had washed up, I repeated the meal for dinner, this time with the family. Both groups loved the cake so I am sharing the recipe. It is a small cake but will serve 10 people. If you have the time and equipment, make some vanilla ice cream with added marmalade to accompany the cake. That would be perfect.
For the Cake:
150 g unsalted butter, softened + 20 g for the base
125 g golden caster sugar + 20 g for the base
A few small semi-ripe plums
3 large eggs
100 g white spelt flour / plain white flour
75 g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 knobs stem ginger preserved in syrup, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons ginger syrup from the bottle
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
You will also need a round 7 inch / 18 cm baking tin, lined at the bottom and sides with baking paper.
How to Make:
Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan.
Sprinkle 20 g sugar + 20 g butter (cut into a few small slices) on the base of the cake tin. Make sure the tin is lined with baking paper.
Cut the plums in half on the long side, remove the seeds and place the cut side up at the bottom of the baking tin. Try to fill the whole base, but leaving small gaps in between the plums to allow a bit of the cake batter to seep through.
Sift the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl (I used a KitchenAid with a flex edge beater), beat the butter and sugar until lighter in colour and texture.
Add in the flour mixture and eggs. Beat on a low speed for 20 seconds, until you get a smooth batter.
Add the stem ginger pieces, ginger syrup and grated ginger. Beat for another 20 seconds on a low speed.
Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched. A metal skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean.
Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.