Plums have connotations of abundance and the good life. Little Jack Horner ‘pulled out a plum’, a particularly desirable appointment is ‘a plum job’, and plum puddings are traditional feast-day fare. Usually a plum pudding (as in Christmas pudding) or plum bread (as in Lakeland plum bread) is made with dried plums (prunes) or raisins. Here’s a recipe for a plum cake made with fresh plums. Any variety will do; I usually use Czar cooking plums or Victoria plums.
4 oz (approx 120 g) wholemeal flour
4 oz (approx 120 g) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) baking powder
4 oz (approx 120 g) light brown soft sugar
4 oz (approx 120 g) butter or margarine
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) honey
1 lb fresh ripe plums
* If making a double quantity, 3 eggs is sufficient.
Rub the butter into the flours, baking powder and sugar until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (I am told one can do this with a food processor).
Beat the eggs, and mix in along with the honey.
Halve and stone the plums.
Reserve 8 half-plums and cut into neat slices.
Chop the remaining plums and mix into the cake mixture.
Put the cake mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin, or a deep cake tin of about 6” (approx 15 cm) diameter, or a shallow baking tin about 7” (approx 18 cm) square.
Level the top and arrange the reserved plum slices in an attractive pattern on top of the cake.
Bake for about 45 minutes (shallow tin) or about 1 – 1.25 hours (loaf tin or deep cake tin), until the cake is golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before removing from tin.
Keeps about 3 days in an airtight tin, or can be frozen. I usually make this cake in a shallow tin, cut it into 12 squares, keep half of them for immediate use, freeze the rest and then simply thaw out frozen squares as I need them.