Saturday, March 27, 2010

Plum & almond cakes

 It seems that yesterday was so relaxing, that my mind decided it did not need sleep last night.

I tried everything to quieten it down, I shushed it softly, I sang it lullabies, I even tried to calmly breathe it to sleep, but no luck. Hours walked pased me in the darkness of my room, waving me hello and goodbye as the next one came. And all the while my mind was blank, switched on, but blank. No ideas to be examined, no thoughts to be filed accordingly just n o t h i n g... I didn't toss or turn, I just lay there, calm but awake. Thankfully not long after 4am waved hello, I fell asleep before I could see him go. And then I dreamed a weeks worth of dreams in just over 3hours - a truly bizarre night.

Even so, I actually awoke with a little more energy than my usual extreme lethargy and managed to make some French Toast and clean the house for more than five minutes (a seasonal clean is still on my to-do-list). Around 2pm I found that I had watched all of the recorded shows on my IQ and read all of the blog updates on my laptop. As I had done a decent amount of cleaning, and I reserve reading for bedtime, I thought I'd make something completely unplanned. Now, that is in bold for a reason - I like to plan EVERYTHING. I have more lists (both paper and digital) and spreadsheets than hairs on my head. The weekly menu is just one grain of sand in my beach of organisation-sickness.

Breakfasts, lunches, brunches, dinners, desserts and snacks are all chosen on a Sunday night before the Monday shop (my husband thankfully didn't rate 'spontaneity' high on his list of traits he'd like in his life partner). Therefore, when I decided to make these cakes (plums were chosen as I had some in the fridge to eat for snacks) I had to make some improvisations as I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, as it was unplanned (I'm beginning to sound like Fezzik with my little accidental rhymes). Fingers crossed, they are still edible.

ease: 4.5/5.
prep time: 25mins (including stewing/cooling plums, and unless your hands are made of steel, you'll need to let them cool before you peel...sorry for rhyming again).
cooking time: 25mins.
total: 50mins.

taste: 4.5/5. Talk as if you had a plum in your mouth, a very tasty plum.

Firstly, I have to mention the beautiful aromas that emanated from both the stewed plums with their cinnamon and vanilla, to the fresh-out-of-the-oven sweetness these babies filled my house with - DIVINE. The delicious perfume alone makes them worth baking.

The cake is perfect - it is beyond moist, studded with crunchy sweet-as-milk almonds (I had no walnuts) and that perfect combination of a chewy, bronzed crust with a soft, fluffy centre. You can taste a hint of the fragrant cinnamon and vanilla flecked pureed plums within the cake, but only a hint. Then comes the wonderfully tart plums with their vibrant juice that flows through the sweet cake like a pristine river, bringing it to life. I would have loved an extra slice or two so that each mouthful was as well balanced as the last.

I used 5 plums, I would keep the puree the same amount but would add an extra two slices of plum to the top, so around 2 extra plums worth.

Apart from subbing the walnuts with almond meal I also used regular white (but un-bleached) flour. I would love to try this as written, not only because it is healthier but I am intrigued as to how it would change the texture and flavour.

This made 9 regular sized muffins.

would I make it again: Yes.

recipe: Plum and walnut cakes.


  1. Delicious looking little cakes!



  2. Yum plum and almond!

    sounds amazing! Looks so beautiful :)

  3. These are beautiful, and I love the combination of flavors.

  4. stunning! i'll be dreaming about these tonight

  5. fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
    if there are, we all be dead.
    no more rhymes now, I mean it.
    anybody want a peanut?
    ah, how i love the princess bride. :)
    quite the opposite, i hate when my mind is racing and i can't sleep. boo. i do enjoy your little cakelets though!

  6. i've just discovered your beautiful, amazing blog! me loves.

  7. Don't those look divine? I'll make them soon!
    Those nights...they happen. Usually with me it's worry, even if in the back of my mind. But then other times I can't figure it out. Luckily, and usually about 3 or 4 am, I'll drop off.
    I bet you made up for it on the next night. I usually do.

    Such a lovely blog...this is my first visit. I'll be back!

  8. The plums and your photos are beautiful! I can imagine how lovely these would be - tart, and sweet at the same time and very very moist!

  9. These are so pretty and I love almond cakes of all sorts.

  10. These are seriously beautiful. Too pretty to eat. Well almost! I'd just feel a little guilty after.