This Month's Recipe...
September – Plum Cake
From page 192 of The Pocket Bakery.
A soggy fruit cake, which, if it does not fall into soft, fruity clods on the plate after slicing, is not the job. This cake is just as good a lunchbox cake as a grown-up fruit cake to decorate with gold and candied fruits for Christmas.
18cm/7inch round cake tin (10cm/4inch deep) with loose base. Butter the tin, line with baking parchment, butter again then dust with flour. To insulate for a longer cooking time, wrap 3 layers of baking parchment around the tin and secure with string.
125g/4½oz golden syrup
125g/4½oz soft dark brown sugar
85g/3oz pitted prunes, halved
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 small dessert apple, grated
250g ground almonds
To glaze and decorate:
3 tbsp apricot jam
1 tbsp water
squeeze of lemon juice
candied orange, kumquats or other fruit, edible gold leaf (optional decoration)
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2 and prepare the tin. Put the syrup, sugar, butter and dried fruit in a pan. Allow the butter to melt, bring to the boil and boil – not too hard – for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Add the spices and beat in the eggs. Stir in the grated apple and ground almonds and transfer to the cake tin.
Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. The cake will rise a little but not much. To test for doneness, insert a skewer into the cake and pull it out. The cake is done if the skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin.
Boil the jam, water and lemon juice together then pass through a sieve. Paint all over the cake. Decorate with candied orange and a little gold leaf, if desired.