Pop on the kettle and treat yourself to a generous slice of this Autumnal bake, courtesy of blogger Circle of Pine Trees.
With Harvest being one of the best times to eat seasonally (not to mention The Great British Bake Off reviving the budding baker in us), we challenged friend and blogger Laura Pashby from Circle of Pine Trees, to come up with a recipe that makes the most of all the fresh fruit and veg available now. And she didn’t disappoint…
“As Summer drifts gently into Autumn, with balmy afternoons giving way to cooler evenings, farms and gardens are full of the bounty of the turning season. In my kitchen, this is a time for jamming and stewing; preserving and baking; making the most of the fruit that has been slowly ripening in the sunshine.
Plums are a particular favourite at this time of year. I buy them by the punnet from the farmers’ market, or keep an eye out for plum trees, branches laden down. They can be found at the pick your own farm, in the gardens of kind friends, and even in the hedgerows, if you know where to look.
We fill our basket with plump purple plums, dancing around the last, lazy wasps of the year, who buzz over the ripest fruit. Our glossy, honeyed treasures can be boiled up for jam, or stewed and topped with a warming crumble to be devoured after Sunday lunch. First of all, though, I bake a simple plum cake. Frangipane-scented, with a sweet demerara crust, this Plum & Almond Cake is the perfect accompaniment to a quiet cup of tea on an early Autumn afternoon.
Plum & Almond Cake
150g caster sugar
75g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
100g ground almonds
A few drops almond essence
12 ripe plums: stones removed, and cut into quarters
Demerara sugar for sprinkling
- Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
- Grease a 20cm round tin and line the base with baking parchment.
- Beat the butter and sugar, until pale and fluffy.
- Sift the flour and baking powder.
- Beat the eggs, and add them gradually to the butter and sugar mixture, beating as you go. If the mixture starts to curdle, stir in a tablespoonful of the flour.
- Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour and baking powder, followed by the ground almonds.
- Add a few drops of almond essence and stir.
- Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and place the quartered plums on top.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake liberally with demerara sugar and place in the oven.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean.
- Cool for 15 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Serve warm or cold on a stylish plate (I’ve used one from The White Company’s Artisan plate range), topped with a final dusting of demerara sugar.”
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(Adapted from a recipe by Nigel Slater.)