Before the last juicy plums vanish from the markets and fresh produce displays, buy up and bake a cake! This delightfully fragrant cake is dense and moist, strong with the aroma of plum and cardamom and lifted by tangy pieces of plum.
I've adapted a recipe from Canadian pastry chef Regan Daley's wonderful In the Sweet Kitchen (Artisan, 2001). She called hers Plum and Cardamom Sweet Bread, but I feel it's more cakey. Enjoy this now, perhaps as relief from the disappointment of cheapo Easter eggs and anodyne commercial hot cross buns.
The original recipe used a larger amount of cardamom, but with fresh cardamom it was very strong and possibly off-putting for some people. I recommend starting with the amount shown below.
This cake isn't at all tricky and can be made quite quickly — it just takes a while in the oven. It freezes well.
Plum and Cardamom Cake
|Source: adapted from Regan Daley: In the Sweet Kitchen (Artisan, 2001)
Yield: 1 long loaf tin — 32 x 11 x 6.5 cm
|›||180 g||unsalted butter||‹|
|›||125 g||light brown sugar||‹|
|›||1 tsp (5 ml)||vanilla essence/extract||‹|
|›||0.5 tsp (2.5 ml)||finely grated orange zest||‹|
|›||2||eggs (55-60 g)||‹|
|›||350 g||plain flour||‹|
|›||1 tsp (5 ml)||freshly ground cardamom||‹|
|›||0.5 tsp (2.5 ml)||salt||‹|
|›||1 tsp (5 ml)||baking powder||‹|
|›||0.5 tsp (2.5 ml)||bicarbonate of soda||‹|
|›||1 Tbsp (20 ml)||plain flour - for coating plums||‹|
|›||approx 6||medium sized plums (approx 5 cm diameter) - stoned and chopped into 2 cm cubes||‹|
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the tin and line the base with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and sugars at high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs and beat until combined.
- Add the cardamom, vanilla and orange zest.
- Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in portions, mixing briefly on low speed between each addition until just combined: 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 flour.
- In a bowl, coat the chopped plums with the extra 20 g flour. Gently stir into the mixture by hand.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin. Smooth the top.
- Bake for 1h15m-1h45m. Use a wooden skewer to check whether the cake is cooked.
- Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from the tin carefully as the cake is quite heavy.
- SERVING NOTE: Absolutely delicious warm, great with coffee when cold.