Comfort me with plums! Ruth Reichel really got it wrong. There is something even more comforting than apples.
In an attempt to get rid of a few "skeletons" in my kitchen cupboard, I made a cake with plums and oatmeal last week. Andrew's last Blogging by Mail initiative involved an exercise where you rummaged through the contents of your pantry, scavenging every dark corner of it to pick out an item that you hadn't used in ages, which you were then to send to your unsuspecting blogging partner. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for Melissa, there wasn't just one item, but at least twenty - and I couldn't possibly send all that. So I find myself left with a box of stuff that I just need to use up one way or another.
I am not sure why on earth I bought oatmeal in the first place, I have never used it before and certainly don't remember what it was intended for, but a recent issue of Waitrose Food Illustrated featured a madeira cake using exactly that, so I tried it. And I will be making this a few more times, I guess, as there's loads of oatmeal left... the cake was great, though, very yummy and moist, we ate it lukewarm, which is the best way to eat any cake involving fruit, as it brings out the flavours even more. What a great way to celebrate the autumn!
Plum cake with white chocolate frosting*
(yields a 450 g loaf)
520 g plums
200 g butter (soft)
8 tbsp orange juice
120 g muscovado sugar
50 g caster sugar
50 g ground almonds
250 g self-raising flour
60 g medium oatmeal
For the frosting:
50 g white chocolate
25 g double cream
Pre-heat the oven to 170 C.
Beat the butter with the sugar until pale. Break the eggs in and beat until well incorprated. Add the almonds, orange juice, oatmeal and flour and beat until you have a smooth dough.
Wash and stone the plums, cut them into bit-sized chunks.
Line a bread tin (450 g) with baking parchment, fold the plums into the dough and pour into the tin.
Bake for 65 - 70 minutes until a metal skewer comes out clean. Rest for 20 minutes.
While the cake is cooling, melt the chocolate and cream in a pot on the stove, taking care not to burn it. When it is runney enough, Drizzle over the cake in close zig-zags widthwise, using a funnel.
Serve luke-warm, with some icecream or whipped cream, if you wish.
* inspired by a recipe in Waitrose Seasons, autumn 2005, p.26. The white chocolate is my substitution for plain icing, which I think just adds calories and no taste whatsoever.