SPICED PLUM CAKE WITH GINGERBREAD
The combination of warming spices, treacle and black doris plums in this cake make it the epitome of a comfort to me. You could swap the plums for any stone fruit, but I love tinned black doris plums because they can be used all year round and are just so very delicious.
For the cake:
115g salted butter
115g brown sugar
250ml warmed whole milk
1 free-range egg
50g ground almonds
200g plain all-purpose flour
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch sea salt
2 tbsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cloves
5 black doris plums, halved and stones removed (fresh or tinned)
For the gingerbread cookies:
190g butter, softened
130g brown sugar
260g plain flour
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp cinnamon
For the ginger icing:
150g butter, softened
220g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp treacle
1½ tsp ginger powder
For the decoration:
2 tbsp treacle/golden syrup
Freeze-dried plum (optional)
Hazelnut praline, store bought (optional)
Fresh flowers (optional)
- First, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 170C on fan bake. Line a 22cm cake tin with baking paper.
- In a small pot, melt together the treacle and butter then whisk in the brown sugar. Allow to cool slightly before whisking in the warm milk, followed by the egg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the ground almonds, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. In 2 parts, gradually add the butter treacle mixture, and mix until well combined, but being careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into the lined cake tin and spread out to the sides.
- Evenly dot in the plum halves and press down lightly.
- Bake for approximately 40-50 minutes. The cake is ready when springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Keep the oven on.
- Allow the cake to cool for around 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- While the cake is cooling, make the cookies and icing.
- First, make the cookies. Preheat the oven to 160C on fan bake. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- In two parts, add the flour, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overdo it.
- Roll out to about ½ cm in thickness and then transfer to the lined baking tray.
- Dot with a fork and bake until very firm and golden, for around 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- For the icing, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter by itself until smooth.
- Add the icing sugar and beat on high until seriously light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, then gradually add the cream cheese. Finally fold in the treacle and ginger powder.
- Break the cooled cookie sheet up into shards.
- Once the cake has completely cooled, ice it neatly and then decorate with the cookie shards and a drizzle of treacle, plus freeze-dried plum, hazelnut praline and fresh flowers if using.
- Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.