Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Plum Cake & Welcome to the world

Its been over a month since I have signed in or typed anything for you all. What a time it has been! On 1 March the moment we had been waiting for finally arrived and we welcomed our gorgeous little boy Austen Patrick into the world. After a crazy week in hospital we have spent the last 2 weeks getting settled in at home, and slowly but surely we're getting there. With this news I hope you can sympathise with how little I have been in the kitchen (what with 44C degree days here in Adelaide and a heavy load) and now trying to literally find time to do anything let alone cook and blog about it. Hopefully I will work it out soon and you will find me here more often.

Isn't he gorgeous? I think so haha.

Anyway onto the yummy stuff. A few weeks before Austen arrived my lovely friend Hannah had a dinner party and I offered to bring dessert. Coincidentally Mum left with me a bag of home grown plums, so I decided the dessert must use these plums. As a side note, let me say I hate plums, I find them sour and don't like the flavour, so I wasn't very excited about all this.

I was generously given "The Cooks Companion" by Stephanie Alexander for Christmas so I thought I'd start looking for a recipe there. I didn't have to look long as under the plum section there was this wonderful recipe. It was easy to make and the cake was gorgeous, the topping is the winner I think. I'd never made a cake like this before, the method was interesting, and I wasn't sure it was going to work, but it did. Give it a try, its delicious, everyone loved it, and some of them were outstanding chefs! Always nice to impress and receive compliments from chefs!

180g softened butter
150g castor sugar
135g plain flour
135g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
70ml milk
1/2 cup ground almonds (or fresh breadcrumbs)
10-12 ripe blood plums, halved and stoned

60g butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 200C and lightly grease a 26cm springform tin.

To make the topping, melt butter and stir in sugar and cinnamon, then allow to cool a little. Whisk eggs well and stir into cooled butter mixture.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in flours and salt. Mix eggs with milk, then add to flour mixture and mix to make a softish dough (it should drop easily from the spoon). Spoon batter into prepared tin (it should not fill more than a quarter of the depth, as the cake rises a great deal), smooth the top and sprinkle over ground almonds. Arrange plums on top, cut-side up, starting around outside edge and working towards centre. Spoon topping over and around plums on cake. Place cake in oven and reduce temperature to 180C.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Serve warm with cream or ice-cream. Any leftover cake can be warmed, wrapped in foil, in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes.

Sathya-rating *****