Hooray for Autumn! September 1st heralded the arrival of meteorological Autumn, and there were plenty of ways to celebrate in yesterday’s Seasons of Rosie post. Today I’m sharing another way – one of my first Autumnal recipes: Nigel Slater’s wholemeal plum cake with spiced frosting. Plum is one of my favourite late Summer, early Autumn fruits – particularly the Victoria variety, which my Grandparents used to grow in their garden. A taste of the ripe, tart yet sweet fruit never fails to transport me back to early September days and birthdays. I can’t be with them tomorrow on said special day, so I thought I would share this recipe instead, which I know they would thoroughly approve of. Warming with spice, rich with hazelnuts and filled with fruit, it’s a great way to dip your toe into Autumn flavours. To make the cake, you will need:
75g light muscovado sugar
75g golden caster
100g hazelnuts, skinned
500g medium-sized plums (prepare by cutting in half and discarding the stones)
150gself-raising wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
A pinch of salt.
For the icing:
150g icing sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
A pinch ground cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp dried rose petals.
Preheat the oven to 160C/ 140C Fan/ Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the base of a 22cm baking tin. Beat the butter and sugars for 5 minutes in a stand mixer until light and fluffy – the colour of latte. Regularly push the mixture down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure even creaming.
While the butter and sugar cream, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan, watching carefully and moving them round the pan so they colour evenly. Grind to a fine powder in a food processor. Beat the eggs with a fork then gradually add to the butter and sugar, with the paddle still turning.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and the ground hazlenuts, then add to the batter, mixing it together thoroughly. Scrape the batter into the lined cake tin and gently smooth the surface.
Place the plums evenly on the surface of the cake. You want them to sink into the body of the cake as it bakes. Bake for 50–60 minutes till the cake is spongy to the touch. (Test after 50 minutes with a metal skewer: it should come out without any uncooked cake mixture sticking to it.)
Leave the cake to settle for 20 minutes, then run a palette knife around the inside of the tin to the loosen the cake, remove from the tin and place on a plate. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, stir in the lemon juice, adding a little water if required to bring it to a thick, pouring consistency. Stir in the cinnamon.
Open the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and grind them to a fine powder. Stir into the icing. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan till golden, then mix with the rose petals.
Transfer the cake to a plate, then pour the spiced icing over the surface – it will ooze down the sides rather pleasingly.
Scatter with the sesame seeds and rose petals and serve.
What are you baking this weekend? Have you tried wholemeal plum cake with spiced frosting?