First Cake: Plum and Vanilla Cake
So I eventually got around to breaking out the Kitchen Aid. (This was back in January by the way, I don't know quite where February went, but I must have done something ... ). I went through a pile of baking books trying to find that ONE PERFECT CAKE that would be worthy of this first run. I scoured internet sites and checked my bookmarks for recipes I'd put aside. I was convinced that it should be chocolate but somehow, despite some fabulous contenders, it just didn't seem right.
Now Bill Granger always has a section on afternoon tea in his books and I flicked through a few in search of inspiration. And then I found it, page 93 of Bill's Food. I have to say that I rejected it at first, thinking "no, it's too simple. I need fancier, bigger, brighter". But five books later I was back, knowing that this was my cake.
A simple buttery vanilla base, with deep red blood plums throughout and a crumble topping. I had misgivings about the crumble which didn't seem buttery enough to me and it did turn out very brittle and sugary but very nice all the same. The rest of the cake isn't that sweet so it works well to balance it.
It turns out that this was Figman's cake too. And, like Harry, he doesn't even like desserts! He polished off three big slices in one sitting after dinner and was outraged to find that it was almost gone the next day! When I asked what was his favourite cake so that I could make that one next he pronounced "this one" determinedly. It's very similiar to the kind of cakes I was served with coffee in Germany and the lack of cream filling or buttery frosting makes it very easy to eat over and over again.
I used fresh plums for this cake, given the summer abundance, but I think that tinned would work in winter. This cake tastes best warm and as for with cream .... mmmm!