Welcome to my first ever Delicious Bites column, this is Jillian Leiboff and I’m excited to be writing for decor8 again this year. At the end of 2012, Holly asked if I’d like to switch things up a bit and write a food column instead of my usual shop girl visits column to encourage more of what she loves: cooking up easy, simple meals and desserts, nurturing relationships around the table and really enjoying your time at home with family and friends. Sounds good to me, what do you think?
For those of you who know me as a shop photographer, this may come as something of a surprise but food is also one of my first loves. I’ve been baking since I was 12 and photographing food since my student photography days. While other students were bringing watches and vases to photograph there was me with sushi, coffee cups and chocolate brownies! Not much has changed since.
I decided to kick off Delicious Bites this month with my recipe for Plum Crumble Cake. I’ve been making this simple plum cake for ages – it’s a basic butter cake layered with sugared plums yet it’s so versatile — you can use almost any kind of fruit. I’ve made the cake topped with sliced apricots, peaches, raspberries, blueberries and mulberries and all were delicious so see what variation you can try on this recipe.
In addition to the fruit tip, I also tweak the recipe every now and then. Sometimes I’ll use cinnamon to flavour the cake and I’ve even tried lemon rind. This time, I decided to add a crumble topping. You can never have too much of a good thing, can you? NOPE..
Walnuts and cinnamon go really well with plums so the cake is topped with a cinnamon-spiced walnut crumble. It’s a very moist cake, so don’t be alarmed when some of some of the plums disappear. They’ll sink to the bottom for sure but please note that this helps to keep the cake nice and moist so it’s not a bad thing.
The crumble recipe makes way more than you’ll need to top the cake so I store leftovers in the freezer. You can use the crumble next time you make the cake or you can use it to make a delicious fruit crumble. If you don’t feel like making the crumble, the cake is delicious just as it is. A light dusting of icing sugar is all it needs but if you feel like adding a dollop of cream, that’s good too. I’m also not opposed to ice cream!
Ok! Are you ready to bake this delicious cake? Good, because here’s the recipe!
¼ cup (55 gm) brown sugar
¼ cup (35 gm) plain flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (70 gm) walnuts
30 grams (1 oz) cold unsalted butter cut into small chunks
5 small plums
1 tablespoon caster sugar
125 grams (4 oz) unsalted butter
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
60 mls (¼ cup) milk
Optional – icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
To make the crumble, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor. Add the walnuts and butter and pulse until just combined. Place the crumble topping in a small bowl and refrigerate while making the cake. This makes more crumble than required so I store any leftover crumble in the freezer.
* Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.
* Grease and flour a 18 cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper.
* Cut the plums in half and remove the pits.
* Slice each plum into quarters, put into a small bowl and sprinkle over the tablespoon of caster sugar. * Set aside.
* To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy.
* Add the egg and mix until combined well.
* Sift the flour and the cinnamon.
* Add the flour alternately with the milk to make a soft batter. You may not need to use all the milk.
* Spoon half the batter into the greased and lined tin.
* Layer a few of the plum slices over the top of the batter.
* Gently spoon the remaining batter over the fruit.
* Sprinkle the top of the cake with the crumble and arrange the remaining plum slices onto the crumble layer.
* Bake the cake for 60-75 minutes or until the cake tests cooked when a skewer is inserted into it. Some of the plums will sink to the bottom of the tin while cooking.
* Cool the cake in the tin for about 15 minutes before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
* If desired, dust the top of the cake with icing sugar.
I hope you enjoy the cake – if you make it please let me know how it came out! See you all again next month with another recipe from my kitchen. – Jillian
(photos/recipe ©2013 Jillian Leiboff)