A Lovely Upside-Down Greengage Plum Cake with a Cardamom Honey Syrup
The gift of fresh, home-grown produce really is one of life's simple pleasures. Whether it be from your own garden or a friend or family members', a next door neighbour or from the roadside.
There is a beautiful big fig tree that Beau and I pass most mornings on our daily walks, it is absolutely laden with fruit. There they are dangling like the little gems that they are and I am eagerly awaiting for them to ripen so I can pluck them from their branches. I just hope I get there before the birds do!
Over the years that we had the café I was given so many edible goodies. customers would poke their heads over the swinging door that led into the kitchen and their arms would be full of lemons, figs, tomatoes, stone fruit, apples and green leafy vegetables depending on what season we were in at the time. When they saw my face light up with such excitement they knew they had come to the right person! I would never say no, as there is always something waiting to be created and it sparks up so much inspiration within me that I just cant possibly wait another second to get into that kitchen and start baking, cooking and experimenting.
Over the Australia Day long weekend we set off on a little adventure towards the rolling green hills of South Gippsland where we stayed the night in the beautiful little town of Meeniyan. On our way we stopped by our friends' home. Now before I go on, picture this......A country setting. A weatherboard home. A rambling garden full of fruit trees, chickens and views that stretch as far as the eye can see. Its a home that is full of so much love and two very gorgeous children whose imaginations are as wild and free as the fresh country air. It was during this visit that Candace gifted me a bag full of bay leaves, fennel seeds, nashi pears and probably the juiciest little flavour bombs that I have had the pleasure of putting into my mouth.....Greengage plums.
You could imagine my excitement! My mind was already running a million miles an hour as to what I was going to create. I had in my mind some sort of cake, an upside down cake to be exact that would have a hint of spice and a syrup that would be not too sweet but would compliment the rest of the flavours perfectly.
There is always a slight edge of nervousness when a new recipe is being created. I always want to make sure that whatever I am baking or cooking with reaches its full potential. From a seed this tree was grown, over the years. From that seed, fruit appears on its branches which are then plucked form the tree ready for their final resting place. Its such a long process and more often than not is devoured in the blink of an eye. So for me, making sure that each and every fruit, vegetable and herb is used to its full potential drives me to try to succeed in making them the stars of their show.
Which is why I was so, so, so thrilled when this cake turned out to be so delicious and just what I was hoping for. A little jump and a clap was had when I got a message through from my chief taste tester, who had in fact taken the first piece for his smoko, with the double thumbs up! Along with a few other happy individuals who also had their tastebuds doing a little happy dance too!
Its a cake that is quick, simple and will leave you feeling full of all the warm and fuzzies. It keeps really well and can also be frozen, but I doubt you will need to do this!
you will need a 23cm spring form cake tin which has been greased and lined with baking paper.
1 cup Macadamias, chopped roughly if large
greengage plums, I didn't weigh these, but just use as many as you need to cover the base of the tin. (apricots, plums, peaches could also be used as well) halved and stones removed
185g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 finely chopped kaffir lime leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
165g caster sugar
3 free-range eggs, at room temperature (if you do forget to get them out of the fridge, like I tend to do! just place them in a bowl with some hot water)
1/4 cup greek yoghurt
225g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
110g almond meal
For the syrup
220g caster sugar
1 tablespoons honey (I use local flora)
1 cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods, bruised
Pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees, fan forced. Make the syrup.
Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium high heat, stirring until all of the sugar has dissolved. Bring it up to the boil then let it simmer for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and allow to cool while you make the cake.
Sprinkle the macadamias over the base of the tin then top with the plums, cut side down.
cream the butter, kaffir lime leaves, cardamom and sugar together until lovely and creamy and light in colour. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each one is incorporated before adding the next. Fold in the yoghurt, 1/3 cup of syrup and the sifted flour and baking powder and almond meal. Spoon the mixture into the tin and spread it all out so its even.
Place into your oven, on a baking tray and bake for about 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out relatively clean. (you may need to cover the cake with some foil if its browning too quickly on the top)
Pour half of the syrup over the cake and allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then remove from the tin, place onto a cooling rack, plum side facing up this time and pour the remaining syrup over the top.
Allow to cool completely. I always find it better to make this the day before serving and then allow it to have time in the fridge overnight, before removing it an hour before you want to serve it. Enjoy on pretty china plates with someone whom conversation just flows. x