Vanilla almond cake full of rum-soaked plums, spiked with white chocolate chips and filled with tart, creamy lemon curd.
Meet my latest baking-child, Plum, Rum & White Chocolate Cake. This post is taking so long to write because I just can’t stop staring at her with love-heart emoji eyes.
I never used to be a fan of cakes, which probably came from growing up in the 80’s where it wasn’t a birthday party until you were served a tasteless dry chocolate sheet cake covered in a thin layer of icing and decorated with an assortment of smarties and jelly snakes. Luckily, I have since discovered a world full of grown-up cakes that are full of flavour and texture and are delicious on their own.
Given the season, I wanted to use a Christmassy fruit and immediately thought of plums, which made me wonder why I associate plums with Christmas. I guessed maybe because of plum pudding, and then realised I don’t know what plum pudding is, so an impromptu Google session ensued. Guys….GUYS…it turns out THERE ARE NO PLUMS IN PLUM PUDDING. As far as I can tell, plum pudding is just another name for Christmas Pudding – the steamed dessert full of dried fruit and liqueur. I decided to let this scandalous revelation slide for now, because this cake is so delicious regardless of whether plums are a Christmas fruit or not.
If you suffer from word aversion you need to look away now, because I have to tell you that this cake is MOIST. For the most part, this is thanks to the use of ground almonds instead of flour. The recipe still requires a small amount of white flour, so is not gluten free – but I suspect this could successfully be replaced with gluten free baking mix. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.
If you don’t have rum, feel free to substitute with sherry, kirsch or an non-alcoholic alternative like apple or pineapple juice. It is quite a rich cake, so the tart lemon curd really helps to cut through the sweetness. You can find my lemon curd recipe here, which you should definitely still make even if you’re only baking a single layer cake because it is just so good.
I love using fresh flowers to decorate cakes because they give visual impact without distracting from the flavours in the cake. Use pesticide-free or organic flowers if possible, and wrap the stems tightly with clingfilm before inserting them into the cake (just make sure the clingfilm comes out with the stem when you’re serving!).
The recipe below makes a single cake, so for a two-layered cake as pictured, double the quantities and split evenly between two cake tins. This cake gets its lift from the whipped butter and eggs, so if you’re making two cakes and can’t cook them at the same time, make the batter for each one separately. Then there won’t be one cake that sits and has time to settle while the other is cooking.
- 150 g canned plums, drained
- 2 T reserved syrup or juice from plums
- 2 T spiced rum
- 200 g white sugar
- 200 g butter softened
- 4 eggs
- 200 g ground almonds
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 t vanilla
- 100 g white chocolate chips
Stone and quarter plums and transfer to a small bowl. Mix through reserved syrup and rum, then leave to soak for at least an hour or overnight in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 170ºC fan bake. Line and grease a 20cm spring form cake tin.
Beat sugar and butter in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Gradually add flour, ground almonds and chocolate chips, folding in gently with a spatula to ensure plenty of air is kept in the batter.
Drain the rum and syrup from the plums and add to the batter along with vanilla. Fold in gently until combined.
Pour batter into lined cake tin, spreading evenly to the edges. Distribute the plum pieces evenly and poke into the batter. Smooth the surface of the batter with a spatula so the plums are mostly covered.
Cook for approx. 40mins, rotating twice during baking to ensure even cooking. When golden and springy to touch, remove from oven and leave to sit for 15 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a rack.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with lemon curd.
This recipe makes a single cake. For a two-layered cake as pictured, double the quantities and split evenly between two cake tins. If your oven can't accommodate two cakes at once, make the batter for each layer separately so it doesn't have too much time to rest before baking.