Autumn Plum and Walnut Cake, and a Bowl of Gorgeous Poached Plums

I don’t know about you, but I love plums. A bowl on the kitchen bench glistening in the morning light; the autumn colours reminiscent of precious gems. They are delicious as they are, or so versatile to cook with. Every year, at the end of their season, I make what seems like a bucket of plum jam – it’s become a bit of a ritual for me. I feel like I’m preserving a little jar of sunshine to see us through the winter. For those interested you can find my recipe for ‘Plum Jam’ under ‘Little things’ on the ‘Recipe’ page.

 Autumn is on its way: the light’s changing and the days are becoming shorter. So now is also the perfect time for making tarts and cakes with this gorgeous fruit: you could even poach a few to spoon over a bowl of icy cold vanilla ice cream if it takes your fancy. Either way, I’ve given you a couple of ideas below to help you have some fun with plums… if you don’t eat them too quickly as we often do. The Mariposa and Satsuma plums from Moonacres Farm were unbelievably delicious, even though they were quite early this year. Unfortunately they have now finished, but I’m still poaching plums and baking with other varieties while I can get my hands on them.

 Plum and Walnut Cake

  • 4 sweet plums, seeded and chopped. About 350g
  • 155g unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup ground walnuts
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 11/2 cups self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Place plums in a food processor, process until smooth and set aside. Place butter and sugar in a bowl, and beat until light and creamy, add eggs and mix well. Stir plums, almonds, walnuts, vanilla extract, flour and baking powder through egg mixture and pour into a greased, floured and lined 20cm cake tin. Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is cooked when tested with a skewer. Let stand in tin for 5-10 minutes, and serve warm with thick cream.

 Poached Plums

  • 11/2 cups water
  • 1 cup white or red wine
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 12-15 plums, halved and stones removed

Bring all ingredients except plums to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook for 5 minutes. Slip in plum halves and simmer for 10 minutes, then allow to cool in the syrup. Refrigerate until ready to serve.