Now we arrive at the time of year where I am writing about recipes just as their ingredients are going out of season. I can’t keep up with the farmers and I always fall behind. But, with any luck, we’ll have another harvest next year and you will have this recipe. For the record, I have tried in the past to just save the recipe and photos and post them eleven months from now, but it never works. I forget what happened and don’t feel as connected to the recipe. So, on with it—plums!
A few years ago I ate a plum which I consider to be the best piece of fruit I have ever eaten. We bought it from a stand at the Boulevard Raspail farmers market in Paris. Bryan and I stood on the street sharing the single plum. Yes, of course, being on holiday in Paris did not hurt—context is always important. But that plum! Since then, plums have gained a special place in my heart (stomach?). They are undeniably beautiful fruit and, like most fruits, when they are great all you need is a napkin. The rest of the time, they are wonderful in cakes and pastries.
Nigel Slater calls this “A pudding cake of honey, cinnamon, and plums”, because that’s how he rolls. The recipe is from Ripe, which is a beautiful book, nevermind cookbook. I consider Ripe and Tender to be two of the best cookbooks ever written—please go get them right now. But back to the cake, it is lovely like all of Slater’s recipes. It bakes to this beautiful dark brown and the fuchsia plums are rippled through. It is sweet, making it more of a dessert than a snacking cake. If you want to push it over the top, pour some heavy cream over your slice of cake.
Maybe some of you will still have a few plums lying around. The rest of you should add this to your bookmarks for next summer.
A pudding cake of honey, cinnamon, and plums adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1 slightly heaping teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup (220g) golden syrup
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup (125g) butter
- 1/2 cup (125g) light brown sugar, packed
- 12 ounces (350g) plums
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon into a bowl.
Warm the golden syrup, honey, and butter in a pan until the butter melts. Stir in the brown sugar. Halve the plums, or cut them into quarters if they are large, and remove the pits.
Break the eggs into a bowl, pour in the milk, and whisk to combine. Pour the golden syrup mixture into the flour and mix with a spoon. Pour in the eggs and milk and continue stirring until you have a loose batter without any traces of flour.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, scatter the plums in the pan, and bake for 35 minutes. Place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the pan and leave to cook for 15 minutes longer. Switch off the oven, but leave the cake in for a further 15 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.
***I know some of you are going to ask about substitutes for Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I don’t like substitutes. BUT, my friend Emily made this with brown rice syrup and enjoyed it. But seriously, get thee some Lyle’s.