plum squares

Summer in Sydney means stone fruit and each summer I like to make a simple butter cake topped with stone fruit. A few weeks ago I made a nectarine and blackberry cake but this time, I made plum cake. I make plum cake every year and I have a favourite recipe but this time I adapted it a little so I could use the buttermilk I had in the fridge.

I also wanted to use plum halves though in the end I'm not sure that was the best idea. The cooked plums always sink to the bottom of the cake but the plum halves were so juicy I wasn't sure I'd be able to turn the cake out without it breaking apart. I managed to turn the cake out but next time (and there will be a next time) I'll slice each plum half into quarters like I normally do and lay them decoratively over the top.

My workmates like most things I bake but they particularly like plum cake.

I really like it as well and if my freezer was a bit larger I'd freeze a couple of bags of sliced pitted plums so I could make plum cake any time of year. 

I think this would make a great winter pudding served warm from the oven with a dollop of cream or some ice cream or maybe both.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Plum Squares – makes 9 squares

½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbl sugar

Cake Ingredients
5 small plums
1 tablespoon caster sugar
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
¼ cup plain flour
60 mls (¼ cup) buttermilk or plain yoghurt

To make the topping, thoroughly mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

Preheat the oven to 175°C/325°F. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 inch) square tin with baking paper. Cut the plums in half and remove the pits. Sprinkle a tablespoon of caster sugar over the cut surface of the plums. Set aside.

To make the cake, cream the butter, sugar and lemon rind together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until combined well. Sift the flours together. Add the flour alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. You may not need to use all the milk.

Spoon the batter into the lined tin. Decoratively arrange the plums over the top of the cake, gently pressing the plums down into the batter. Bake the cake for 20 minutes then sprinkle the top of the cake with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for a further 20 - 30 minutes or until the cake tests cooked when a skewer is inserted into it.

Cool the cake in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack. Turn right side up as soon as possible.

To serve, cut the cake into squares and serve accompanied by a good dollop of cream.

Sugared plums atop a lemon scented butter cake topped with cinnamon and sugar. What's not to like?

See you all again next week,


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