Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Plum Tea Cake
I baked this cake to celebrate / commemorate / commiserate the end of the Easter holidays. 3 days off from work = 5 day weekend! It was a slow, relaxed weekend with large stretches of time spent tirelessly digging garden beds in a backyard overrun with weeds.
This morning I decided to wander aimlessly around Preston looking for food tidbits. I ended up with all sorts of vegies, grains, some green curry paste and dried oyster mushrooms. I finished the trip with a quick circuit of Aldi to hunt for bargains. I mean, you don't go to Aldi for anything specific - unless of course you were stopping by to quickly pick up a mountain bike or a watering can. They had a kilo of plums for 2 dollars, so I grabbed those, as well as some 69c sliced beetroot, a 99c bag of spinach and some unsalted butter. I forgot to pick up a plastic bag at the start of the queue (not being Aldi initiated) so ended up having to cram all the things I bought into my handbag quickly whilst being glared at by the people queueing behind me. Argh.
Anyway, the plums. I made a cake using Michael Ruhlman's pound cake ratio, but browned the butter first and used soft brown sugar. I tossed some white choc chips in at the end because we had them in the cupboard. I layered the surface with the cut plums and sprinkled them with brown sugar so they would caramelise in the oven. Sticky plum syrup pooled in the crevices where the stone of the fruits once were. The plums were not anywhere near as delicious as the plums I used to make plumble, but they were half the price. And why is it a tea cake? Well, Andrew called it a tea cake and when I asked him why he said 'I don't know, because it's brown.' Indeed it was brown, a deep, rich brown.
Plum Tea Cake
8 plums, halved and stoned
150g soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup white choc chips (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat an oven to 170 degrees C.
Melt butter in a small pan. Keep cooking it until it turns a golden brown colour, not too dark. Turn off heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Beat the soft brown sugar into the butter in a mixing bowl, until a smooth mixture is achieved. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in baking powder, flour and salt. Stir through choc chips (if using). Butter a square cake tin and line with baking paper (I layered some long strips of baking paper under the main sheet to over-hang the tin, to ease the cake out after baking - see photo). Spoon cake batter into tin, sit the 16 plum halves on top in a 4 by 4 arrangement. Sprinkle with dark brown sugar and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 mins - keep checking when it gets close to an hour to see when the centre has cooked through. Leave to cool for 15 mins, then carefully lift out of cake tin using the strips of baking paper.