Hot on the heels of the peach tarte tatin, came a punnet of plums that needed eating. I wasn’t too happy with the pastry of the tarte tatin (maybe it had been frozen too long) but it didn’t seem to go too well with the lovely syrupy peaches.
I had been looking for other recipes, but the alternative seemed to be a sort of pineapple upside-down-cake but with plums, or a fiddly pastry version. I wanted something softer than pastry, but with a denseness that you don’t get from sponge cake.
I hit upon the idea of using a muffin mixture with cornmeal to give the dense texture, and to fill in the gaps between the plum halves. I should acknowledge that I have adapted a recipe from the Primrose Bakery (for blueberry and polenta cupcakes, it’s brilliant – do try it!) for this recipe!
So, I made a syrup with butter, sugar, cinnamon and water, and cooked the de-stoned plum halves for around 15mins in a heavy-based frying pan (turning halfway through). They didn’t need much cooking as they were fairly ripe.
Then for the sponge/muffin part:
Preheat the oven to 160°C(fan)/180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a springform cake tin and place on a baking tray in case of leaks!
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and mix in.
Combine the dry ingredients (plain flour, cornmeal, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder) in a separate bowl. Add half the flour mix to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add half of the milk, and continue until all the flour mix and milk have been incorporated.
Put the plum halves flat side down into the cake tin, spoon over any remaining syrup, and then spoon the cake mixture over the top.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown. To check it is cooked, insert a skewer in the centre – it should come out almost completely clean.
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g golden caster sugar
80g plain flour
1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
The result was a really nice dense (but not heavy) sponge, topped with some slightly tart and beautifully coloured plums. I purposely halved the sugar content in the original recipe, and I think it works better without being sickly sweet!