Plum & Ginger Cake

You know that summer is drawing to a close when British plums come into season (I have mixed feelings of both loss & excitement about this). Available from mid-august through to October, plums are one of the juiciest of all stone fruits, a real late summer treat to lead us into autumn.

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Whilst plums can vary in colour, everything from yellow, green, red & ,most commonly, deep purple, British plums generally fall into one of two groups, sweet & sweet-sour. The sweeter variety (such as greengages of Victoria plums) are more of a dessert plum, the kind that are enjoyed as is. The sweet-sour variety (such as damsons & Czars) are more tart in flavour & far better suited to cooking.

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Whatever the variety though, they’re all great in things like jams, chutneys & crumbles. But one of my favourite late summer treats is my simple, comforting plum cake. A rustic,  hearty cake, the kind that wouldn’t look out of place at a picnic or bake sale.

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A simple, light, fluffy sponge is given a little heat & warmth from fresh ginger, a subtle nod to the cooler, longer nights ahead as we return to the pantry spices (yes, the Christmas countdown is on!). The top of the cake is plum-packed with colourful, seasonal varieties, adding pretty decoration & juicy sweetness.

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Whilst the sun still shines but the leaves begin to lose their colour, this cake is a perfect harmony between the seasons, hints of what’s left of British summertimes with sights firmly set on the coming autumn months ahead. A quick & easy cake to throw together, best enjoyed with a cup of tea as the evening begins to hold a slight chill (throw in the odd blanket & candle for all the autumnal vibes though).

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PLUM & GINGER CAKE
(makes one 20cm cake)

Ingredients:

  • 120g butter
  • 150g soft light soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 30g fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 7-8 plums, stoned & halved
  • 2 tbsp demerara suger


Method:

  • Grease & line a round 20cm cake tin with baking parchment
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter & light soft brown sugar until light & pale
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition
  • Add the vanilla extract & ginger to the bowl & stir through
  • Sift the flour & baking powder into the bowl & beat until well incorporated & there are no more pockets of dry flour
  • Stir the milk through the mixture until it reaches a good dropping consistency (you can add a little more if needed)
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin & spread evenly
  • Carefully arrange the plum halves on top of the cake, placing them on rather than pushing them into the batter
  • Sprinkle over the demerara sugar
  • Bake the cake at 180°C for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until golden & a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly when removed
  • Once baked, remove from the oven & allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes in its tin before running a knife along its edge & releasing the clip
  • Remove the cake & place on a cooling rack to cool

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