I'm on my own for two whole weeks! If I blogged about anything other than food, I guarantee you such duties would be temporarily suspended until my state of abandonment subsided. However, in order to combat being outnumbered by the dogs (a situation I have made clear I don't feel comfortable with - admittedly they combine to a terrifying mass of 17kg, but still), and all the adulting I've been required to do without moral or actual support, there has frankly been an increased need for cake in the house.
So miraculously all the batches of stuff for the markets and orders have yielded just a little too much mix or a few extra portions. Shame. Apparently that's not enough for me so I set about my usual weekly task of concentrating our Oddbox fruit spoils into an easily ingestible format (cake, in case you hadn't realised). The glut this week was a host of varying sizes of purple plum, of course in combination with the rule of - use what's in the cupboard before you buy any more flour, sugar, pasta, grains or pulses, nuts, dried fruits seeds, nut butters etc. - with walnuts in mind, I found a couple of jars of ground pecans which I thought would provide a bit more of an interesting flavour and texture than plain old ground almonds. Yawn.
So the plum, pecan and spelt cake was born - the wholegrain spelt and ground pecan nuts give a really nutty, wholemeal and bready taste to contrast the sharp, sweet plums and demerara crust. All rounded off with a hint of cardamom and cinnamon which I think work really well both with stone fruits and spelt flour cakes.
As an aside, the demerara sprinkle is one of my favourite ways to finish a cake - to say I'm not a fan of icing is an understatement, I much prefer the sweet crunch of the brown sugar crystals which form the most amazing shell like crust when baked on top of a cake. It's great on fruity sponges, carrot cake, anything!
Recipe (Makes one 20cm round cake)
75g unsalted butter at room temperature
50g cold-pressed rapeseed oil
75g unrefined caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
100g wholegrain spelt flour
50g ground pecan nuts
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
400-500g ripe purple plums
1-2 tbsp demerara sugar for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 170C, grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with parchment paper
1. Place the butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy and light.
2. Meanwhile weigh the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and whisk them to combine and distribute the baking powder. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat them. Prep the plums - cut them in half and remove the stones.
3. Add the eggs a little at a time to the butter / sugar mix - making sure you don't add them too quickly or it will curdle. If it looks like splitting throw in a tablespoon of the flour and mix that in before adding more egg.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and level it out. Arrange the plum halves skin side up on top of the mix - they'll sink as it cooks so no need to push them in. Sprinkle liberally with demerara sugar.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes until risen, brown and set - you can try a skewer test - you may get some plum goo on the skewer - that's ok, just watch out for raw cake mix!
6. Place the tin on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cake from the tin and cooling further. Serve a bit warm with some vanilla custard!!