Monday, February 18, 2013

Plum, almond and orange cake

Summer, and another two plum trees laden with fruit.  Somehow, despite best efforts, I always manage to dribble the dark stain down my front.  Plum tree number one you can do that with; the fruit is sweet enough to pluck straight from the tree.  The fruit from the other tree ripens a little later and needs the most help with sugar.  Though the flesh is just sweet, the skin retains a sourness that makes it less edible than its early bird neighbour. 

As in previous years, I’ve taken the plums and bottled plum & vanilla jam in little jars (and dropped teaspoonfuls straight into my mouth).  I’ve showered friends and neighbours with bags of the fruit and I still have some left on the tree. Time is running out but I have plans to poach them, sprinkle a streusel mix on top, bake them and freeze so I can recall this long summer when it is chilly.   Let’s hope life quietens down just enough to allow me to do this.

For now though, I’m kind of smitten with this cake.  I love the texture and taste of ground almonds in cakes.  There’s a dense richness that’s not heavy but seems to complement the weight of the plums suspended in the batter.

The plums do drop down into the cake during cooking, so I just I flip the cake over when it is baked and use the bottom as the top.  It shows off the plums nicely with a smooth, flat surface

I made this for our first book club of the year (and this year I hope to share with you our exciting reading months ahead) and promised I would post it.  A little late but here it is.

Captured taking a shot with my little point & shoot

Plum, almond and orange cake

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
25g vanilla sugar*
4 eggs
150 self-raising flour
70g ground almonds
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp milk, at room temperature
approximately 5-6 plums, sliced (enough to cover the top of the cake)

*If you don’t have vanilla sugar to hand, just use a total of 225g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Grease and line a 21cm cake tin.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time (beat well before adding the next one).  One of the tips my dad gave me was to add a tablespoon of flour (from the ingredients list) to the mix if it looks like it may separate at this stage.

Sift in the remaining flour and fold in with a large metal spoon.  Gently mix in the ground almonds, orange zest and milk until just incorporated.

Place the sliced plums on the top of the cake.  Don’t worry too much about their appearance as the plums will sink and it will be a total waste of your efforts.  As I said above, for a more attractive cake, turn the finished cake bottom side up where most of the plums will have plunged.

Bake for approximately 1 hour.  A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean and the cake should spring back when you push lightly with your fingertips.  If the top of the cake browns too much during cooking time, cover with tin foil (don’t put it directly on cake, make a small dome shape over the cake tin).

Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes then carefully remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve dusted with icing sugar and cream or yoghurt.

Recipe adapted from Julie Buiso's Plum & Almond Cake from Sweet Feast.

I'm submitting this to Sweet New Zealand, hosted in February by Michelle at Greedybread.


  1. What a gorgeous photo of the cake -- a work of art. We've been overdoing it with plum crumble around here -- but so good with a bit of vanilla paste tossed in with the fruit.

    1. Lovely to hear from you, Sue and thanks for your kind comments. I did take some similar photos with my point & shoot camera but in the end Bill's photo won as the best overall - styling was all mine though! I've been a bit neglectful of reading other bloggers but will pop over to yours right now!

  2. Looks great Lesley and I know what you mean and dribbles. I had nice dress on yesterday, felt quite swanky until i got home and realised I had dripped peach juice down...very sophisticated!

  3. Hello! I recently just started a youtube Korean food channel, EasyKoreanFood, where you can learn how to make fast & easy Korean food! It would mean the world to me if you could check it out because I'm just starting out! Thanks!

  4. Yum, plum and almond is my kind of dream cake. I'm so envious of you having plum trees. I just bought up a few kilos of plums at the market today for jam making and preserving, but sure wish I could just pluck them off the tree.

  5. This cake looks lovely! Orange and almond have a magical combination in cakes, and with lovely fresh plums!

  6. this my kind of fruit cake! So wish I had some fruit trees :)