Sunday, 12 May 2013

Plum and Cardamon Cake

This weekend marks the end of 3rd week of Trinity term (that's summer term in Ox-lang). It also marks my single weekend home of term, which can only mean one thing - baking.

However, this weekend is also special, as some cousins are coming over to England from Germany for a family reunion in Herefordshire; my beautiful countryside home. We went to tea at a beautiful venue called The Priory, where my sister and her husband were married last June, and the following day I whipped up two cakes for a number of neighbourly guests who came to tweak and coo at my little baby nephew! 

The first of these is this plum and cardamon cake, and the recipe is from The Clandestine Cake Book - one of FIVE baking books I received for my birthday 

I've never baked with cardamon before, and the word only brings to mind the hard, spicy and quite unpleasant seeds that ruin a good curry mid-mouthful... however, I can guarantee that plum and cardamon are, as this book says, "a flavour marriage made in heaven", and this cake is absolutely exquisite: 

200g butter
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs 
200g self raising flour
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
6 plums
2tbsp soft light brown sugar
1tbsp water
80g butter
120g full fat cream cheese 
180g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (170 fan). Grease and line two 18cm round sandwich tins.

Start by making the plum sauce. Place the plums in a pan with the sugar, cardamon and water, and heat gently until tender and beginning to break down. Remove from the heat, taste, and add a little more sugar if needed. Strain the liquid through a sieve and set the plums and liquid to one side to cool.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

 Add the beaten eggs a teaspoon at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour after each addition. Continue until all the egg and flour is incorporated. Mix in the ground cardamon.

Divide the mixture between the tins and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins, then cover one of the sponges with three quarters of the cooled plum liquid, allowing it to sink in. Leave in the tins to cool completely. 

Make the filling by beating the butter in a bowl until smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined, then sift in the icing sugar at intervals until all is combined. Add a tablespoon of the remaining plum liquid and mix well. Place in the fridge to firm up.

When the sponges are completely cool, turn the plum soaked sponge out on to a plate and cover it with the cream cheese filling, then the reserved plums. Place the other sponge on top of the filling.

To make the glace icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add about 2 tablespoons of warm water to produce a runny mixture. Drizzle over the cake. Decorate as you please.

The best cakes LOOK homemade. 
You could even replace the plums with another fruit, like rhubarb. (As you know, i'm a huge rhubarb fan, those of you who have seen my rhubarb and custard muffins will know!)

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