Thursday, 8 October 2009

Plum crumble cake for pudding

Autumn is here. Clear blue skies and frigid mornings, a blanket on the bed at night, and warming, stodgy food. We seem to instinctively crave the food which will support us through the seasons. I have been dreaming of rice pudding - sweet and creamy with a generous dusting of nutmeg.

But this week I had 4 wrinkly purple plums blaming me from the fruit bowl for their sad state. Baking fruit has always been a favorite trick of mine to restore less than perfect specimens. These were cooked slowly with honey and cranberry juice until soft and fragrant but holding their shape.

Unfortunately three days in bed feeling very sorry for myself found the plums still in the fridge, uneaten. What an opportunity to create a lovely pudding cake - and I'm genuinely very pleased with this one, with the sweet but tart fruit cutting through the vanilla sponge and nubbly almond topping. Enjoy with cream, or for the real Autumn experience, custard.


  • 4 plums, halved and stones removed, and baked until soft.
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125g unrefined caster sugar
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla essence
  • For the topping: 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup ground almonds, 3 tablespoons caster sugar, pinch salt, large slice (c. 40g) unsalted butter.
Note: I give the topping ingredients in very rough proportions as that is the best way to make crumble in my opinion - some like more butter, others a very fine crumble, and it really has a lot to do both with personal taste, and the qualities of the flour you are using. Use your instinct.


  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F. Line the base of a square baking tin with parchment.
  • In a processor or by hand, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Sift the flour together with the baking powder. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together loosely.
  • Add alternating increments of the flour and eggs to the butter sugar cream, beating well after each addition. With the last of the egg add the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the cake batter into the tin, spreading evenly into the corners. Place the plum halves, cut side up, into the cake.
  • Make the crumble topping: mix together plain flour, almonds, sugar and salt; rub in the cold butter with the pads of your fingers until all the flour mix is incorporated and you have a texture you like. Scatter the crumble evenly over the surface of the cake.
  • Bake the cake for around an hour, until the crumble is golden and the sponge is cooked through.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing better on a cold day! Might need to do the same with the plums I have in a similar state.