The range of plums available in the markets these days is broad, helping to stretch the season from summer well into autumn. I am quite fond of blood plums. They're great raw, but they also cook exceptionally well, with the high pectin content of many of the varieties. This cake has a large, moist crumb and a high fruit-to-cake ratio. You can, of course, eat this cooled, but I like it warm from the oven with a dollop of quality cream.
10 ripe blood plums, cut in half and pitted (you can quarter the plums, leave them in halves or do both)
1 orange, juiced (and finely grated zest of half a lemon)
80g brown sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g castor sugar
4 extra-large eggs
50ml lemon juice (and finely grated zest of half a lemon)
140g full-cream natural yoghurt
200g fine semolina
200g almond meal
100g plain flour, sifted
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 handful flaked almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 165C fan-forced or 185C conventional. Grease a 26-centimetre round springform cake tin and line with baking paper.
2. Add the plums, orange juice, orange zest and brown sugar to a bowl and toss through gently. Set aside for 15 minutes or more, gently tossing the plums through the liquid every now and then.
3. Add the butter and castor sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and cream with the whisk attachment until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
4. Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest and yoghurt in a bowl and add to the mixer. Beat until combined.
5. Combine the semolina, almond meal, flour, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl, and then fold into the mixture by hand until smooth and well mixed.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and poke the plums in the top, reserving the macerating juices in the bowl. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly.
7. Meanwhile, add the liquid from the plums to a small saucepan and reduce on the stovetop until it's the consistency of honey.
8. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and brush the top generously with the syrup. Cool for 15 minutes before unmoulding. Best served warm.
1. Depending what's in season, you could also use peaches, nectarines or blackberries.
2. Dress this cake up by serving it with spiced mascarpone or custard while still warm.
3. Play with the spice profile by adding ground ginger or saffron – or both.