'plumb' crumble cake

Welcome to my first post for 2023. I hope you all had a good break over the holiday season. I've just returned from a few days in Melbourne, and I don't know about you, but I am not looking forward to returning to work this year.

As soon as plums appear in the fruit shop, I buy a few so I can make plum cake. I wanted to make something a little different this year and whilst searching, I found
this recipe
on the Monday Morning Cooking Club website.

recipe (and the story behind the name) really appealled to me but I decided to change it a little. I swapped the original crumble recipe for my favourite walnut crumble. Using the food processor made light work of both the crumble and the pastry. The pastry, which needs to rest for at least 2 hours before making the cake, was very soft and quite difficult to roll out. I rolled out the base with a rolling pin but in the end, I pressed the pastry up the sides of the tin using my hands.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. 
For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C. Please note the pastry needs to rest for at least 2 hours before making the cake.

'Plumb' Crumble Cake – makes a 17cm cake. 
Crumble Topping
½ cup (70 gm) walnuts 
¼ cup (55 gm) brown sugar
¼ cup (35 gm) plain flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
30 grams (1 oz) cold unsalted butter cut into small chunks

60g plain flour
60g self-raising flour
Pinch salt
65g unsalted butter, chopped
55g (¼ cup) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
25g sour cream or yoghurt

To assemble
6 whole plums washed; stones removed then quartered. 
1½ tbs caster sugar

Crumble Topping
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor just a few times until coarsely chopped. Tip out into a small bowl then combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in the food processor. Add the butter and pulse until just combined. Place the crumble topping into the bowl containing the chopped walnuts and mix until incorporated. Refrigerate the topping while making the cake. 

Put the flours, salt and butter in a bowl and use your fingertips to mix them together until the butter is evenly dispersed and the mixture forms crumbs. Add the sugar, vanilla, egg yolk and sour cream and mix together using your hands or a wooden spoon. When a soft, sticky ball of dough is formed, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can also make the dough in a food processor.

Remove the dough from the fridge 30 minutes before using. Thoroughly grease a 17 cm springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180⁰C, conventional. 

On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough thickly to fit the base and halfway up the sides of the tin (use all the dough) then place the plums on top, arranging them very close together. If rolling out the dough proves troublesome, just press the dough into the base and halfway up the sides of the tin. Sprinkle the plums with the caster sugar. 

With your hands, squeeze the crumble mixture together and then break it up over the top of the plums. Place the cake on the centre rack in the oven and bake for an hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the cake is golden on top and the plums are cooked through. Serve warm or at room temperature with cream or ice cream.

It was a bit tricky working out if/when the cake was cooked. It looked ready after an hour, so I took the cake out but then I changed my mind and returned the cake to the oven for the full baking time. 

I had my slice of plum cake and, upon reflection, it tasted very much like something I'd made before. A little onsite reading revealed I'd made a version of the famous German plum cake known as Zwetschgenkuchen.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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