Local plums, apples and pears are beginning to appear at the farmer’s market and farm shops and the cooler weather makes me think about baking with warming spices – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. I like it when my house smells of autumn, the air redolent with spices.
There are so many different varieties of plums available and you can use just about any of them for this cake. Victoria Plums are at their peak in England just now. Named for Queen Victoria, this egg shaped plum has a sweet but sharp flavour. Some of them arrived in my organic produce box last week. A beautiful pinky purple, they just begged to be used in something that would show off their gorgeousness. The flavour of the cake really is determined by the quality of the plums you use, so be sure to choose the best you can find, plums you would be happy to eat, the juice dripping stickily off your fingers and down your chin.
The number of plums you need for the cake will vary depending on their size and shape. I’ve used several different varieties for this cake and I always seem to need between eight and twelve plums.
The batter is fairly thick, and when you are putting it in the pan, you may think there is not enough. If you are using the 8 inch pan called for I promise that there is. Be patient and spread the batter carefully with a spatula or knife.
Spiced Plum Cake is delicious served warm with cream, ice cream (my personal favourite) or as a traditional British ‘pudding’ with custard. I always hope for leftovers as it is beautiful with a cup of tea for breakfast. It will keep well at room temperature for a couple of days and while the plums may sink and wrinkle a bit with keeping, the flavour of my Spiced Plum Cake just gets better and better.
- 8 to 12 plums
- ½ cup butter, unsalted if possible, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1¾ cups all purpose (plain) flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons golden granulated, Demerera, turbinado or raw sugar, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C).
- Cut the plums in half and remove the pits.
- Grease an 8 inch springform or loose bottomed cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
- Fold the flour into the batter.
- Beat in the buttermilk.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to fill the pan and smoothing the top a little.
- Arrange the plum halves, skin side up, in a circular pattern on top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake and the plums with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 20 to 30 minutes.
- When the pan is cool enough, remove the cake and cool on a wire rack.