Hello again. Not to make you jealous or anything if you’re from the other side of the world but the New Zealand summer has been nothing but spectacular. Despite being from the tropics, I see the beauty the sun in a completely different light. Sunrise and especially sunsets are glorious every single day and in every hue of magenta and crimson. And not to be outdone by the sky, the waters of Auckland are resplendent in their own range of deep blue and turquoise. Perhaps it’s the pristine NZ environment or perhaps things are different in the Southern Hemisphere.
But every summer has it’s end. The days have narrowed and the air just slightly cooler. At the market, the debut of apples signals the coming of autumn. You know what they say about time when you’re having fun, it’s gone before you unfold your picnic mat. I’m holding dear whatever slivers of summer is left and before stonefruit season bids adieu with this plum crumble cake. If you’re like me, then, when it’s end of summer, you need to make this cake.
Make it and you’ll know why plums and Chinese 5 spice are bosom buddies. And just a note of caution- you’ll be tempted to eat it when it’s right out of the oven but it tastes much better the next day as he flavours mingle and the plums release their jammy goodness. Use plums which are very ripe, the kind which burst with juices when you bite into them. The darker-coloured plums are perfect for this cake. I added a crumble layer to contrast with the sticky and slightly soft baked plums but this is completely optional. I should think any overripe stone fruit would be good for this.I haven’t tried it with peaches, nectarines or apricots but if you do, let me know how it turns out.
Plum Crumble Cake
Adapted from Dish Magazine
For the plum mixture
- 8-10 medium overripe plums
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 heaped tsp Chinese 5 spice
For the cake
- 180 g butter, at room temperature
- 225g / 1 cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, mixed
- 219 g/ 1 and 3⁄4 cup plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the crumble topping (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp plain flour
- about 2 tbsp size cold butter
- 1-2 tbsp raw sugar
- Loaf tin (25 x 13 x 7.5 cm) / 8 cup capacity, lined
- pre-heat oven at 150°C, fan-forced
1. Cut and remove stones from plums. Cut each plum into 6 pieces.
2. In a bowl, mix plum pieces with brown sugar, ground cinnamon and Chinese 5 spice. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix the crumble ingredients,if using, together with your fingertips until they resemble medium-large crumbs, not too small. Set aside in refrigerator to keep cool.
3.In a mixing bowl, combine sifted flour, salt and baking powder
4. In a kitchen mixer, cream butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
5. Gradually add in the mixed eggs. If mixture curdles, add in a few tablespoons of flour mixture. Add in vanilla extract.
6. Add in flour mixture to butter-egg mixture. Do not overmix. Fold by hand with spatula once flour is about 3/4 mixed in.
7. Spread 1/2 of batter into lined loaf tin. Scatter half of plum mixture over.
8. Spread the other half of batter over the plums. A metal spoon is useful in spreading the batter smoothly.
9. Add the other half of plum mixture and scatter the prepared crumble in between plums.
10. Bake cake for 60-70 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. After 40 minutes, place a loose aluminium sheet loosely over the top to prevent over browning.
11. Let cake cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing it. You might need to use a sharp paring knife to loosen the sides where the baked plums are stuck to the tin.
Can you see the syrupy, sticky plum goodness and the slightly caramelised bits at the corner?
Perfect the next day with a cup of coffee. 2 plates but 1 coffee, you ask? Both the cake slices were meant for me. Because this cake deserves it. Sticky, sweet, slightly tart and crunchy, all in one pan.