Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Plum and Almond Pudding Cake

Picture the scene if you will. You return home weary from a morning of adventures, only to discover that you have promised your afternoon to a veritable menagerie of colleagues, consorts and confederates, all insatiable for only the finest afternoon tea and cake. Of course buying cake is simply out of the question, so it is for occasions as this when recipes such as my plum and almond pudding cake prove so invaluable.

The cake itself is beautifully romantic, with late summer stone fruit steeped in an exotic orange blossom water syrup, a soft and delicate almond sponge, lightly perfumed with orange zest and a biscuity, chewy topping with just the merest suggestion of marzipan. However it is also perfect for sharing with visitors, as you can prepare and bake the cake just before they arrive, filling the house with that wonderful, near intoxicating baking aroma. It then only needs to cool for an hour, leaving you time to entertain your newly arrived guests, regaling them with witty banter and thoughtful discourse, before serving warm with a dollop of custard or cold cream and without question, a pot of exquisite leaf tea.

Prep time: 30 Mins
Baking time: 45-50 Mins
For the fruit
4 Ripe Plums (Stoned, quartered and the quarters cut in half)
25g Light Muscovado Sugar
1tsp Orange Blossom Water

For the cake batter
150g Unsalted Butter (Softened)
150g Light Muscovado Sugar
2 Large Eggs
100g Ground Almonds
2tbsp Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
The zest of 1 Orange

For the topping
25g Plain Flour
25g Cold Unsalted Butter (Cut into small cubes)
25g Light Muscovado Sugar
25g Flaked Almond (Crushed)
1/2tsp Almond Extract

The first task is to prepare the fruit. Put the plums into a small saucepan with the 25g of sugar and orange blossom water. Turn on a low heat and leave, lid on for around ten minutes, until the plums have released their juices. Remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium for 4-5 minutes. Try to avoid stirring the fruit too much as it will then break up, but feel free to gently manoeuvre the pan in a circular motion occasionally to move the fruit around. Turn the heat up high for a final 1 minute until the juice has become syrupy, then remove from the heat and leave to one side whilst you continue with the cake batter.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 20cm deep loose bottomed tin and line with baking paper. In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar, before beating in the eggs one at a time. Fold through the almonds, before sifting in the flour and baking paper and doing the same, along with the orange zest. Again, leave to one side so you can get on with the topping.

Speaking of which, take a clean bowl and add the remaining flour, butter, sugar, crushed almonds and almond extract. Rub it all together so the mixture is evenly combined and no lumps of butter remain. You should be left with little nuggets of the topping, which is exactly what you want.

Spoon the cake batter into your prepared tin and spread carefully to the edges. Spoon over the warm fruit and any remaining syrup, then evenly scatter the topping over (you've guessed it) the top. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 45-50 minutes, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are satisfied the cake is cooked remove from the oven, leave in the tin for 20 minutes, then turn out, gently removing the paper and leave for an hour to cool on a wire rack until warm.

And that's your work done. The only problem with this cake is your guests will love it so much they will keep demanding more!


  1. This sounds totally delicious. I still haven't made your cookies, but they are on my list - as is this pud, now.

    1. I couldn't even begin to describe how good this one is with a cup of tea...