Late Summer Plum Cake


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My family love stone fruit, especially plums! I have wonderful memories of eating loads of fruit in the summer holidays as we traveled to our favourite holiday spots across New Zealand. Being one of three kids, we sat shoulder-to-shoulder, often sandwiched between pillows, or clothing, or nursing a picnic basket on our laps – maybe a fresh bag of plums Mum had picked up from a stall on the side of the road. My memories are endless.

When I came across this cake recipe by Helen Jackson a few months ago on Foodlovers, it only made sense to make it for my Mum on her birthday. I have this thing about people making their own birthday cakes – it just isn’t right to me.

I was pretty happy with the way this plum cake turned out. We served it, dusted with a light sprinkling of icing sugar, and a dollop of unsweetened yoghurt on the side. It is moist, tender, and wonderfully fruity. It has just the right amount of sweetness.

You can of course use any kind of plums to make this cake. Do note, if the plums are too ripe, they will turn a bit mushy while baking. If they are not ripe enough, they won’t soften enough to infuse the cake with their wonderful juices. Choose ripe plums that are still quite firm to touch.

Alternatively, you can make it with apples, nectarines or peaches!

Late Summer Plum Cake
Serves 12

  • 8 large plums
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 300 grams butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Slice the plums and toss with sugar in a bowl, set aside. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line a round cake tin with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy, add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add milk, vanilla and then combined flour, almonds and baking powder, gently mix.

Spread batter evenly into cake tin and then cover the surface with sugared plums.
Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until cake tests cooked.  Serve fresh and almost warm with a dollop of yoghurt. Enjoy!

This is my entry for Sweet New Zealand. This month is hosted by Monica at Delissimon. Get along to her blog and check out all the mouthwatering recipes at the end of the month.

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Tramper’s Oat Slice

Don’t ask me why this recipe, which I found sandwiched between a few hundred pages of one of my Mum’s recipes books, is called Tramper’s Oat Slice. I suppose it is a bit like a homemade energy bar…maybe that’s why.

From the look of it, it was probably a recipe found in the Dominion Post a couple of years ago, and it has become a favourite in our household.  The blurb before the recipe says that the recipe was developed by Deb Baxter who owned a cafe in Blenheim. It’s a real sort of muesli, health bar and is quite tasty, and nutritious!

The addition of lemon juice and lemon rind really adds to the slice and gives it a great tangy flavour that comes through the oats and seeds. You can add as much dried fruit as you like – things like chopped apricots work well, alongside sultanas. This is the kind of slice that you can mix up, and change depending on what you might have lingering your pantry cupboard. Enjoy!

Tramper’s Oat Slice
Makes 40

  • 125 g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest, finely grated

Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees. Grease a sponge roll tin with a small amount of spray, and line with baking paper.

Place the butter in a bowl, add sugar, golden syrup. Beat until pale and creamy. Add the egg and beat until well combined.

Add flour, baking powder, coconut, rolled oats, sultanas, apricots, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat until well combined.

Place in tin, and press down. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Slice up when the slice has cooled down a bit and store in an air tight container.

Lemon Biscuit Slice

Right now, I should be packing for my trip, but I felt like sharing this recipe with you instead.

I know I’ve blogged a lot about slices on After Taste in the past so I really don’t need to go into just how much I appreciate a good piece of old-fashioned slice.

But while slices are simple in theory, countless cafes and bakeries just can’t seem to nail it. The base is often terribly crumbly, or dry and the all-important icing-to-base ratio is often out. So your best bet for a tasty wee morsel is generally one you just make, yourself, at home.

From memory this uncooked lemon biscuit slice is a total crowd pleaser. It is quite moist, with a coconutty base and a soft, sweet lemon icing. It is really simple to make and requires absolutely no baking!

Tell me, what is your favourite slice recipe?

Lemon Biscuit Slice
Makes 24 pieces

Base:

  • 250 grams wine biscuits
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • Finely grated zest of 1-2 lemons
  • 120 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Lemon icing:

  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 40g butter, melted
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Grease and line a 17 x 27cm slice tin with baking paper, leaving an overhang on all sides. Place biscuits in a food processor and process to form fine crumbs.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, then combine with coconut and lemon rind. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat to melt. Stir in condensed milk. Pour melted mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Press biscuit mixture into prepared tin. Refrigerate for one hour or until firm. When set, ice with lemon icing. To make lemon icing, place the icing sugar in a bowl. Add melted butter and lemon juice and beat until smooth.

Stewed Feijoas

New Zealanders love feijoas and I’m not sure how true it is or not, but apparently it is the one fruit we most look forward to here in Aotearoa. The aroma and flavour of fresh feijoas is just unbeatable and best of all, they are packed with Vitamin C.

Feijoas are another one of those things (like many I blog about) that take me back to a particular time. The taste and smell of feijoas return me to when I am am 7 or 8 years old to Francis Drake Street in Waipukarau where my Nana lived. We would sit underneath her feijoa tree and eat a huge number, one after another, maybe 20-something in a row…skin and all. Although my sisters and I were in fruit heaven, I think my Nana was more concerned about the state of our tummies in the hours or days following.

Memories aside, they are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner and anytime in between. You can enjoy them fresh just scooped right out of their skin or enjoy them cooked, chopped, sliced or blended in so many combinations. Stewing feijoas is an excellent way to use up fruit that otherwise might go to waste. This makes a delicious dessert or is perfect cold over cereal for breakfast. Enjoy!

While you have feijoas on the mind, be sure to check out this amazing blog dedicated to feijoa recipes: Feijoa Feijoa. Brilliant.

Stewed Feijoas
Serves 2

  • 12 feijoas
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

Slice the feijoas in half and scoop out the insides of approximately 12 feijoas. If they are particularly large or you want more of a puree, feel free to cut them up a bit more.

Fill a pot with water and put on to the boil. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar (white or brown – doesn’t matter too much). Wait till the sugar dissolves and add the fruit. Simmer for about 10 minutes until fruit has softened.

Golden Orange, Date and Chocolate Cupcakes

It is not every day that I have fruit leftover which is slightly spoiled and in need of some attention. I usually can’t get enough of the stuff so it barely makes its way into the fruit bowl before it is completely annihilated. Yes, I just love fresh fruit.

You’d think because of this intro that I was talking about some fabulous fruit haul, like a bumper crop of feijoas or perhaps some juicy plums that had seen better days. Nope, not this time. Just a couple of sad-looking oranges.

My love of fruit of course makes me entirely jealous of people with free-standing houses and the ability to plant fruit trees galore that reproduce and get bigger, and better…year after year. Little ol’ me just lives in an apartment complex. The closest I get to a large supply of fruit is basically relying on the generosity of others! Workmates, mainly.

Anyway, least I know what my priorities are for later in life: 1. Free-standing house, 2. A big garden, 3. LOTS of fruit trees.

Back to the recipe.

There are so many great flavour combinations; I wish I kept a bit of a list. Every now and then I will read some thread where someone goes off on a riff of great combos. If I don’t write it down when I read it, I lose the info.

Orange and chocolate make a pretty delicious combination. Just like dark chocolate and lemon, white chocolate and raspberry, pear and caramel. This is originally a cake recipe which I’ve adapted slightly for a 12-hole muffin tray. The dates only add to the flavour, so if you don’t like them I suggest throwing them into the food processor with the orange and munching them up until they are really small. I really love dates so don’t like them too tiny.

The cake recipe suggests that you ice once baked (and you can do!) but I thought these little rays of sunshine tasted just perfect by themselves. The chocolate square on top adds that extra bit of sweetness and really compliments the orange, skin and all 🙂

Enjoy!

Golden Orange, Date and Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 a cup of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup of chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda, dissolved in 3/4 cup of water
  • Dark, milk, or white chocolate, 12 squares

Cream together the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between additions. Munch up a whole orange in blender (skin and all!) and add to the creamed mixture.

Add the chopped dates (which can be done by popping them in the blender at the same time as the orange), vanilla and salt to the mixture. Stir in the flour and baking soda ( dissolved in the water).

Pour the batter into a lined and greased 12-hole muffin tray and smooth out evenly. Poke a piece of chocolate into the batter of each cupcake. You can smooth the batter over the top of the chocolate if you like but I left mine on top – nice bit of decoration. Bake at 160 degrees for 25 minutes or until cooked (definitely better on the slightly undercooked side!)

This is my entry for Sweet New Zealand hosted by Bake Club this month. Get along and check out some of the entries at the end of the month!


Sour Cream Berry Cupcakes

Meet Ming. Ming makes cupcakes. Infact she makes cupcakes, cookies and savouries. I don’t know a lot else about Ming expect she is just an ordinary homebaker like you and I, who likes taking pictures of her baking.

What I do know is that I haven’t quite come across another baking site like hers that makes me drool quite as much as I do when I’m scrolling through this one. Her website is a documentation of a project to test, experiment and create new flavours of cupcakes and other delicious treats. Sounds like a perfect little life to me.

Although I discovered this wee beauty a while ago, I have only made this one so far and it sure is delicious! I definitely recommend.

On a side note, I finally got myself one of these! I can now decorate to my heart’s content and not worry about the little wee things getting squashed!

Sour Cream Berry Cupcakes
Makes 10

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 115 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups berries (fresh or frozen)

For the icing:

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon rind, grated
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and egg. Stir in the sour cream.  Add flour mixture.  Stir in the berries.  Bake at 180 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together until it goes nice and smooth and creamy. Slowly mix in the icing sugar and blend it till it’s really well combined and then throw in the lemon rind and the vanilla essence and give it another couple of stirs. Ice the cupcakes once cooled and if you like, you can top with additional berries or decorate with some white chocolate.


Sultana and Bran Loaf

There is not a lot one can say about loaf. Nothing riveting anyhow.

Every now and then I decide to make something to put in my lunch to take to work. Mainly because I often get a case of the 3 o’clock munchies (come on, you all get it too). I like to have something with me so I don’t waste money on something unhealthy or ridiculously overpriced.

Batches of muffins often do the trick but this time I settled on a loaf. I haven’t had a slice of loaf in a while and it is so easy to make, and more importantly only uses one bowl!

I’m really not sure who to credit for this recipe (possibly Alison Holst) as I quickly copied it down from one of Mum’s recipe books. It truly is quite delicious! What’s more you don’t need any eggs or butter, and the loaf is still moist.

Although I only used 1 cup of sultanas, a second cup of chopped dates and other finely chopped dried fruit such as dried apricots would work really well.

Bake this in a loaf tin which holds 5-6 cups.

Sultana and Bran Loaf

  • 2 cups bran
  • 2 cups sultanas
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of trim milk
  • 2 cups self-raising flour (or 2 cups flour & 2 tsp baking powder)
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp mixed spice

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Spray a loaf tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together and scrape into a tin.

Bake for 90 minutes or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean. Cool completely before wrapping in cling film and refrigerating. Leave overnight before cutting with a sharp serrated knife. I find this loaf is best eaten in 8 – 10 days.