On my allotment, there’s a huge plum tree that overhangs the fence. Every year it sags almost to the ground under the weight of all the fruit and since I can’t bear to see them rotting on the branches, I, err, tend to liberate a fair few. (It’s not scrumping if no one else cares, right?!) I came home with a bag full the other day, and of course had to figure out a use for them.
My haul made three jars of blackberry and plum jam and this: a Plum & Hazelnut Frangipane cake.
Since this cake is part frangipane, it’s heavy on ground nuts and light on flour. (You could easily make this gluten free by substituting the flour for a GF alternative). Hazelnut frangipane is far superior to almond in my opinion: hazelnuts have such a comforting, warm, rich flavour, especially when toasted. And combined with ripe plums, vanilla and cinnamon, this cake is pretty damn addictive.
Plum & Hazelnut Frangipane Cake
- 100g whole hazelnuts (or use pre-ground if you can find them)
- 140g butter, softened
- 140g golden caster sugar
- 3 free-range eggs
- 60g ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 60g self-raising flour
- 4 or 5 fresh plums, depending on size
- Half a tbsp of honey
- Icing sugar and a few more chopped hazelnuts, to decorate
- Preheat oven to 160C / 325F / Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin.
- If you’re using whole hazelnuts, place the nuts in a dry saucepan and set over a medium heat to toast for around 3-4 minutes, shaking frequently to make sure they don’t burn.
- Tip out onto a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove the hazelnut skins. Don’t worry if some don’t come off.
- Use a hand-held blender or similar to finely grind the hazelnuts. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tbsp of ground hazelnuts with each.
- Stir in the rest of the hazelnuts, almonds, vanilla and cinnamon.
- Gently stir in the flour until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the tin.
- Slice the plums into halves or quarters depending on size and press gently, face-up, into the mixture. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for a few minutes
- Dilute the honey with a splash of hot water and – while the cake is still warm – poke a few holes in the surface and spoon over the surface.
- Decorate with icing sugar and chopped hazelnuts.