Cinnamon tea cake topped with pears and plums

As we're firmly in winter here in Sydney, think driving rain and frosty mornings, I'm hungry all the time. There is nothing like a slice of cake and a cup of tea when the hangries strike.

When I saw this Helen Goh recipe I knew I had to make it but I decided to change it up just a little. I had a few plums stashed in my freezer but not enough to cover the cake so I went for a pear/plum combination for the topping then browned the butter, because everything tastes better with browned butter.

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a larger cake, refer to the original recipe.

Cinnamon tea cake topped with pears and plums
90g unsalted butter
135g caster sugar
finely grated rind of 1 large lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
70g sunflower (or other flavourless) oil
75ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
75g almond meal 
120g plain flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
freshly whipped cream, to serve

1 medium ripe pear, peeled and halved
1 plum, halved, pitted then thinly sliced
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp caster sugar

Put the butter into a small pan and cook over a low heat until the butter becomes brown and smells nutty. Immediately transfer the browned butter from the pan to a heatproof bowl then set aside to cool until tepid. You should have 75g of butter. If you don’t, then add a little cold water until it weighs 75g. 

Preheat the oven to 190°C conventional and line the base and sides of a
17cm cake tin (preferably with removable base) with baking paper.

Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and rub together firmly between your thumb and fingers until the sugar is very fragrant and tinged yellow. Add the eggs and whisk together until combined, then add the oil. Whisk until smooth, then add the milk and vanilla, whisking until combined. Add the almond meal and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mix. Stir gently with the whisk until just incorporated into the batter, then dribble in the butter around the perimeter of the bowl, stirring gently. Scrape the batter into the lined cake tin.

Prepare the topping

Remove the core and stem from the pear with a small metal spoon or paring knife, then slice the pear halves into 0.5cm pieces, keeping them together. Now fan out the pieces so that they’re slightly overlapping and, using a small spatula, lift portions of the overlapping pear slices and place them gently on top of the cake batter. Do the same with the plum slices and continue until all the slices have been used and the top of the cake is entirely covered. Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the fruit.

Place the cake in a preheated oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing it from the tin. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

This is a very lovely cake and as it's a melt and mix number, is very easy to make as well. I can see I'll be making any number of fruit topped versions of this cake in my future.

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

Bye for now,


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