A Little Plum Cake

A slice of plum cake, served with extra plums and a dusting of icing sugar

Sometimes you fancy a hot pudding after dinner — for just the two of you. Or perhaps you have a surprise guest for dinner. If you have some fruit in the kitchen, this little cake can be rustled up and placed in the oven before dinner commences. I made this cake when we had blood plums from our tree — it was a short season of plump and luscious fruit, which we managed to harvest before the possum got them all. Simply double the recipe for a larger cake to serve a crowd.

Serves 2–4; Prep: 15 mins; Cook 30–45 mins; Gadget: oven

100 g almond meal

50 g castor sugar (plus extra for topping)

25 g plain flour

¼ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 egg

30 ml milk

½ tsp vanilla extract (or almond extract if you wish to boost the almond flavour)

40 g butter, melted

20 g butter, cold and cut into small pieces

4–6 plums*

Icing sugar for dusting

*Other fruit can be used, fresh, canned or frozen — e.g., pears, apples, mango, cherries, berries.

1) Butter a small 15–18 cm pie dish, cake tin, or oven-proof dish and heat the oven to 180°C.

2) Whisk together all the dry ingredients in a bowl: almond meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

3) In a separate bowl, beat the egg until frothy, then whisk in the milk, vanilla (or almond) extract and the cooled melted butter. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

4) Spread the batter out evenly into the buttered dish.

5) Peel (or leave the skin on if you prefer) and stone the fruit. Slice into quarters and arrange the slices prettily on top of the batter. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar and dot with pieces of butter.

6) Bake for 30–45 mins (timing will depend on the type of dish used to cook the pudding in) until the cake is risen and golden, and when a skewer pushed in the middle comes out clean.

7) Leave to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or cold with a sprinkling of icing sugar (optional). Some cream, yogurt or fresh fruit on the side would make this an even more sensational dessert. Vanilla ice cream would also work well with the cake. A sprinkling of chopped (unsalted) nuts would add crunch.

Let me know how it goes, if you try the recipe
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