Tuesday, 16 June 2009

A Plum Job

Nearly a month has passed since I posted a note on baking here, an unintended hiatus of sorts. Between revising for exams, then sitting the verdamte things, an unexpected trip to Norway and one albatross of a PhD proposal looming on the horizon I've neglected all whisking and folding recently. Thankfully all the hard work has been mitigated with plenty of japes and frolics, so no need to indulge in spasms of self-pity. Just been a busy bee, that's all.

Anyway, earlier this spring a number of enquiries about gluten-free recipes arrived in my baking inbox, so I decided to test this plum+almond cake recipe yesterday for those who are coeliac or have a wheat-intolerance. It's a super easy and quick to prepare sponge, thus making it a perfect tea-time treat or served with ice cream manifests itself rather well as a dinner party dessert. The recipe is one I adapted from one I found on the Cook's Illustrated site, an awesome repository of recipes tested to the nth degree. You can't go wrong with their recipes, seriously - have a look. All recipes for a bona fide 4th July fiestanza can be found there: ribs, key lime pie, cornbread...

But I digress. What you don't eat of this cake at tea-time or after dinner, try for breakfast. In a moment of Marie Antoinette-esque hubris I abandoned the quotidien smoothie this morning for a generous slice of cake with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some leftover plum sauce. Ideally I would have been reading Wodehouse whilst scoffing such a delectable plum cake with aplomb, but settled for a scan of the news about Iran's nascent revolution.

Enough warbling, here's the recipe folks!

Plum+Almond Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 punnets of plums (I only used 1, and that wasn't enough, you wan't this to be plummy)
  • 3 tsp apricot jam (St.Dalfour is a tasty one, and is made with grape juice)
  • 2 tsp raspberry+rose cordial (see photo above)
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 125g self-raising gluten free flour
  • 250g caster sugar (light brown would also be good)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 200g half-fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg + 1 fat egg yolk
  • splash of vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180C. Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan.

Prepare the plums first by halving them. In a large saucepan or frying pan place the apricot jam and cordial, along with a little water (Cook's Illustrated suggests brandy - I didn't have this, but give it a go if you do). Bring to a simmer and allow it to cook for 2-3 mins until syrupy. Add the plums cut-side down and cook a further 5 minutes, basting them with the juices so the tops cook too. Once they're cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and reserve the excess syrup for later.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. In a separate bowl sift the flour, almonds, raising agent, salt. Beat the egg with the sour cream and vanilla in a cup.

Once the butter is creamed, add the egg mixture and dry mixture in increments, beating with an electric whisk if you have one. You want quite a dense batter for this cake to hold the plums in suspension.

Spoon the batter into your cake pan, bake on the middle oven shelf for 45-50 minutes and check it's cooked through by inserting a skewer. It should come out with crumbs, not wet batter.

Allow the cake to cool, then eat with gluttonous abandon


Anonymous said...

Just looking at that dreamy photo is making my mouth water! You've inspired me to get baking.

News Blog said...

Nice Post
Steven Spurrier

Signe said...

Why thank you gastrogeek and Steven, the cake didn't last long. Plums aren't quite in season yet so this was rather a naughty indulgence on a Monday in mid-June! Come August and September there will be plenty of baking with good English plums so watch this space for more recipes ;)

Signe x

shayma said...

love this recipe. the photos are so beautiful.