A few busy weeks have scuppered good intentions to share my teeth-sticking cinder toffee and some kind of gorgeous winter pomegranate recipe. Instead, I bring you a cake that is simply perfect for late-autumn plums. In September I struggled back to London armed with half my bodyweight in foraged plums from my grandparent's farm and, a quick spell in the freezer later, this cake is the reward.
While sloe gin has crept onto our supermarket shelves of late, British hedgerows are bursting with these delicate navy berries in late Autumn. While sloes are not much to write home about on their own they are truly wonderful with gin, so fill your boots and make as much sloe gin as you can store. The tipple in this recipe hails from my mother's drinks cupboard in Rutland which, I hardly need add, is always well stocked.
I was lucky enough to have this recipe published in my latest article for The Telegraph, 'Baking with booze.' The full feature is available to peruse here.
4-6 ripe plums
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs
50g ground almonds
75g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
100ml sloe gin
50g icing sugar
Dried rose petals and bee pollen, to decorate
Slice the plums thinly and discard the stones. Place the plum slices in a bowl, and pour over half the sloe gin. Leave to marinade for an hour or two, or overnight if you have time.
Once the plums have soaked, remove from the gin and arrange in a baking dish. Bake for 300-45 minutes at 160C, keeping an eye on them to ensure they don’t catch.
For the cake, preheat your oven to 180C, and line a 7 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.
Beat the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add the eggs, ground almonds, flour, salt and baking powder. Beat until light and airy. Using a metal spoon, fold in the baked plum slices.
Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin, and level with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Brush the cake with most of the remaining sloe gin, reserving a little for the icing. Allow to cool.
Mix the icing sugar with a little sloe gin, and drizzle over the cake. Decorate with rose petals and bee pollen.