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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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

emily227 September 20, 2009 at 7:20 pm

My husband is a huge fan of plums—I definitely think he would love this cake!

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Peter G September 20, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I like plums but I wouldn’t say I love them! However I do find they work well in cakes like this. The use of almond meal is always a winner in helping the cake be moist. Nice one Elly!

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Katie September 20, 2009 at 8:56 pm

OH YUM! That looks soooooo good!!

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nina September 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Wonderful cake Elly, but I think it is time your visit sunny SA and we will teach you how to cut a watermelon quick-quick!!!

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Joelen September 21, 2009 at 1:37 am

Looks beautiful and I love how the color of the plums just pop in the cake!

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Jen @ MaplenCornbread September 21, 2009 at 6:27 am

This looks so wonderful! Lots of plums and look at how moist it is even in the photo!!! yum!

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Noelle September 21, 2009 at 7:29 am

Question: How are you storing your cake so it will not dry out or get to moist? Looks great; making tonight!

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elly September 21, 2009 at 7:42 am

Hi Noelle. I stored it loosely covered in foil overnight (I made it late in the evening) but my condo was too hot to keep doing that without that sticky stuff you get on muffins, etc. when you do that, lol. I put it in the fridge that morning and when we ate a slice we either let it come to room temp beforehand, or just zapped a piece in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Worked fine and stayed moist. Hope you like it!

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Joan Nova September 21, 2009 at 8:27 am

Elly, Looks delicious and I’m sure the ground almonds added much to the consistency and taste.

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Kelsey September 21, 2009 at 9:31 am

This looks like the perfect way to use up the beautiful empress plums I bought this weekend. Thanks, Elly!

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Noelle September 21, 2009 at 9:52 am

Thanks Elly! I actually made it 20 minutes ago! My husband raved over it. I had a brain fart though. I decided to turn the cake while it was still warm. I was able to salvage half the cake! I mean we still ate the messy portion but the nice portion is still photographable. Sigh…it is a monday.

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Ivy September 21, 2009 at 11:01 am

I must say that I am not a huge fan of plumbs but they are really great in cakes. They look so lovely in the cake.

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Carol B. September 21, 2009 at 11:23 am

Plum cake is one of my favorites and this looks like a good recipe.

Nigel was probably using the smaller Italian Prune Plums. They are my favorite for baking, and only in the store for about 3 or 4 weeks out of the year.

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Ben September 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm

You are right, not many people say their favorite fruit is plum. Mine is mango, but plum would be my favorite if it grew in trees in the form of this cake. Looks and sounds amazing!

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Kerstin September 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I’m a huge fan of substituting ground nuts for flour when I’m baking as well. This looks like the perfect plum cake! I always gravitate to buying peaches at the store and need to mix things up with some plums next time!

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susan from food blogga September 22, 2009 at 6:13 pm

I waited all summer long for Italian prune plums to make a cake like this, and they have been terrible. Guess I’m gonna have to enjoy yours vicariously. :)

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Peabody September 26, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I am so loving that first photo!

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Peter September 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

I bet this cake vanished in one sitting. Excellent with coffee.

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Gloria October 2, 2009 at 4:03 pm

This looks amazingly good. I wish I could grab it from that picture and just start eating lol. I actually work with Del Monte, and if you want to try a different kind of cake, our website features an almond peach cake that’s really delicious! Our new citrus bowls and Superfruits add to the moistness of it and if you’re interested, you can get some coupons while you’re there too :). Check it out!

http://bit.ly/qYT4q

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desperate.viz October 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm

oooh, don’t have any plums anymore
but here in portugal is pear time

i’ll try with pears

it’s been a pleasure to get to know your blog, see you soon

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Julia October 10, 2010 at 10:16 am

I tried out this recipe–very good, thanks!!

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Kitty January 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

This looks delicious- shame I’m allergic to nuts really!

Having had the privilege of eating plums on both sides of the Atlantic, I can tell you why Nigel Slater recommended so many- plums (and fruit in general in my experience) are larger in the USA than in the UK. I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems to be the way of things!

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