Plum and almond ricotta cake

Don’t you just love this time of the year? Sunny and warm during the day with a subtle autumnal chill in the evening’s air. And full to the brim of seasonal bounty. It’s my favourite transition from one season into the next one for sure!

We had some glorious weather recently which gave us an opportunity to ditch the screens and walk side by side in the sunshine. And to discover so many freely available gems in the countryside, from heady horseradish with its bushy green foliage growing next to the canal to plump plums hanging in their purple glory over the towpath.

It’s those plums that caught my attention. After all, they are the kings of the late summer now that the berries have diminished and fall apples and pears are yet to arrive. They truly are one of my favourite fruits, eaten raw or baked or turned into jam, I love their many guises. From sweet little mirabelles, through juicy greengages to jammy fresh prunes. Give me a plum and I’m happy. Put it in a cake, and I’m in heaven.

We always had plum cake when I was growing up, big fluffy slab topped with plum halves and scattered in buttery streusel. But that’s a story for another day. Today I’m sharing a recipe that is a little different. It uses one of my favourite ingredients of all times – curd cheese. I have been baking with it for as long as I can remember and I love how versatile it is in cake batters and not just as a filling. I normally use Polish twaróg but since I had a tub of ricotta in the fridge, I used it instead. This is an eggless cake thus perfect for any egg allergy sufferer – don’t be fooled though  thinking it must be a bit meh for that reason. It’s delicious.

This cake is all about the plums. They truly are the stars of the show here. Juicy. Jammy. Plummy. Showcased on the thinnest, barely there dough that is laced with almond extract. Swimming in their pinkish juicy glory with slightly caramelised edges, it’s all about them. Not too sweet and tangy enough to be really moreish eaten for breakfast or with an afternoon tea. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of milled twaróg or ricotta, drained
  • 3 tbs of sour cream
  • 80 grams of caster sugar
  • 75 grams of melted butter, cooled
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
  • 160 grams of plain flour
  • 125 grams of self raising flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 800 grams of plums, stoned and cut into quarters
  • 200 grams of flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Line a shallow baking tin (28x36cm) with nonstick baking paper and set aside.

Place the cheese, sour cream, sugar and essences in a mixing bowl and start beating. Slowly add the melted butter and continue to mix until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl mix the flours and the baking powder and add all of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until only just combined. You should end up with a fairly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough onto the prepared baking tin and stretch it into the corners using a spatula. Level it out and create a slightly raised border around the edge.

Arrange the plum quarters onto the dough and press them in slightly. Scatter the almonds over the whole cake and place it in the oven to bake for approx 40 minutes.

Once baked and golden brown, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely. You may also wish to drizzle the cake with some icing simply made up of icing sugar and Amaretto like I have done in the photos. For me, this is entirely optional as I like the tangy sweetness of this cake but if your plums are on the sharp side, the drizzle is a quick way to mellow it down. Enjoy!