I have just returned from the most wonderful food tour of Liguria, Italy (more of this to be posted in coming days). It is autumn in Italy right now where glorious autumn fruit is in abundance. One afternoon, during this magical week, we had a few hours to ourselves, to do as we pleased. I am not sure what the others in the group got up to but I managed to find and eat both the finest piece of pear and plum cake and the most luscious gelato that has ever passed this greedy girl’s lips. I like to call it both a skill and being incredibly efficient with one’s free time!
Returning home, I wanted to recreate this wonderful cake. We are fast approaching Summer (not that todays rain makes me feel that way) and the long and the short of it is that sadly, pears and plums are another few months away (this is only tolerable knowing mangoes, berries and melons can pass my lips). Never being one for tinned fruit, I had to suck it up all in the name of greed and recreating magic. Although it is not at all as good for you as the real thing, if you select your tinned fruit carefully (eg read the label and don’t buy ones heavy in syrup / sugar), the end result will be really pretty special. I might even throw about the word ‘superb’.
I have given you the recipe using fresh fruit below for when our luscious pear and plums strike again but for the interim, use 1 can each of tinned pears and plums and you have yourself a little slice of heaven / Italy right there.
Plum and pear cake
2 cups (300g) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
A large pinch of salt
2 cups (450g) caster sugar plus 1 to 2 tablespoon (depending on sweetness of plums)
225g unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs
10 smallish purple Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
4 pears, quartered and cored
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons or tablespoon ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 180oC.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
In another bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color.
Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Spoon batter into a greased 25cm spring form pan and smooth the top.
Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it. Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.
Bake for approx. 45-50 minutes or until cake is golden and a a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack.
This cake gets better the next day so it is perfect to prepare in advance the day before you need it (we all love a cake that gives us a head start right!).
We are off to Italy again for our Relish Mama food tour October 3rd – 10th, 2016. Check our website for more info. We’d love for you to experience this incredible journey with us.