A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater: September’s Plum Cake

September 20, 2009 · 22 comments

in desserts/sweets,nigel slater

Or rather a wonderfully moist, fresh plum cake, as referred to by Nigel.  And it REALLY is. Not just wonderfully moist, but also delicious.

I’ll let you in on an odd tidbit – plums are my favorite fruit. I know, it’s weird, right? Have you ever heard anyone proclaim the plum to be their favorite fruit? Cherries, watermelon, raspberries, sometimes even peaches…these are often people’s “favorite” fruits but mine has always been the plum. I just love the taste and the texture of it. Not to mention, I love anything you just need to rinse and eat. I’m 28 years old and, for the record, I have never cut  a watermelon in my life because I’m just that lazy.

When I saw this recipe in In the Kitchen, I knew it had to be the one made for the month. Well, until I read on for a few more pages and got to a plum crisp that I seriously debated for a while, too, and ultimately decided I would make before the end of plum season.  This is such a good cake, and ridiculously easy to make. I am a big, big fan of ground almonds used in place of flour – both for taste and texture – and this cake is no different. I debated adding some vanilla extract because most cakes use some kind of extract, but opted just to let the almonds do their thing and they totally did. On top of the nuttiness of the almonds, you also have some walnut bits in there to lend a little crunch and more nutty flavor. The plums are sweet and hold up perfectly in this cake, without becoming too mushy.  This is a really lovely summer/fall dessert but would not be out of place at a brunch table, either.

Nigel must be using some itty bitty plums or something, or at least a different type of plum. I used black plums, which I love and also which happen to be rather large. So, though the original recipe calls for 12-15 plums, I only used 5 and this cake was pretty jam packed with plums. Depending on the size of your plums, I would recommend buying a couple extra just in case, but I’d really doubt you need as many as 15, or even 12. There just isn’t enough surface area on a 9″ cake pan!

You should make this cake. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Wonderfully Moist, Fresh Plum Cake

Serves 8-12
Adapted from
Nigel Slater

5-8 plums
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup AP flour
1.75 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-9″ square or springform pan with parchment.

Cut the plums in half and remove the core. Cut each half into 2-4 pieces.

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Sift together the flour and baking powder, and then gently add to the mixture (I start this off in the mixer but quickly switch to folding with a spatula to prevent overmixing). Fold in the ground almonds and the chopped walnuts.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and then place the plums on top of the pan (no real reason to make this look pretty as most will sink to the bottom, anyway). Bake 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out.

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