Purple Plum Torte and Little People at Easter Time

IMG_6631

Happy Easter to you Izzy, and Little C at opposite ends of the world.  From Bells Beach (Rip Curl 2014 Surf Pro?) to Bel Air (at Jessi’s house), dad and I cannot wait for you both to descend on us in Sydney in a couple of days.

It is so nice to have four days in a row. Dad, who has worked twenty-six days without a break certainly needed this week-end. I took him breakfast in bed on Friday, which he loved.

IMG_6607

It would have been an unusually quiet Easter Sunday without you girls, if not for a week-end of visitors in and around Sydney, including three gorgeous little one-year olds, two of whom were here today for lunch with their parents, and your cousins  T and D. Dressed in their Easter best, the baby twins were gentle and sweet  and quite won our hearts.

Across the way in Darling Point, cousin C has visitors one of whom is a precious one year old too! You’d love these little people, Izzy- warm and small and oh so sweet!

IMG_6645

I cooked some favourite suspects for lunch– thought with babies a meal at room temperature might be more practical to give us lots of time to start and stop with them if needed,  and not worry about things getting cold.

IMG_6641

For dessert, we had a plum torte which I served with Persian fairy floss and dollops of thick cream. This is no ordinary plum cake, Izzy. It is, in fact, ‘the world’s BEST plum cake’! Don’t you love it when you come across something that claims to be the best? I found this recipe and immediately had to read more. The tartness of the plums and the sweetness of the butter cake make a wonderful medley of tastes. It is a cinchy cake to bake- you’d be impressing everyone big time with this one, little Izzy.

Well, I’m getting my Ottolenghi cook books out for when you gals arrive let’s get cooking’! Cant wait to spend some hours cooking with you while we catch up on all the news….in person! Until Tuesday my darling girls.

IMG_6621 IMG_6623 IMG_6626 IMG_6627

Purple Plum Torte

This is ideal with purple Italian prune plums, but if you can’t find them, other plums will do.

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder (the aluminum-free kind, if you can find it)
Large pinch of salt
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar plus 1 to 2 tablespoon (depending on sweetness of plums)
1/2 cup (115 grams or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
12 smallish purple Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon or tablespoon ground cinnamon (see Note up top for explanation)

Heat over to 350°F. Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color. Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan (but if you’re worried, you can always lightly coat it first with butter or a nonstick spray) and smooth the top. Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it. Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake comes out free of batter (but of course not plum juice), about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on rack.

Once cool, if you can stand it, and I highly recommend trying, leave it covered at room temperature overnight as this cake is even better on the second day, when those plum juices further release into the the cake around it, becoming not just “cake with plum,” but cakeplumughyum (official terminology, there).

IMG_6668

-with thanks to the Smitten Kitchen

Orange Drizzle Cake for Afternoon Tea

So about this cake, Izzy. I am sending it to you because you know I have a mental block about baking.  Nana gave me this recipe years ago, promising that even a nervous baker like me would get good results. Besides, it is so delicious! The rind of TWO oranges makes it so yummy and orangey. I also love thinking of you making it in Drummond Street, on another continent, having just made it here together with you.  A snowy day, eating it at the kitchen table when Claudia and Dad got home, with steaming cups of tea. It is pretty nice to think of three generations of us cooking this cake in different countries isn’t it, my darling girl ?

Orange Drizzle Cake

  • 6 oz butter
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs at room temperature
  • 6 oz self raising flour (or plain flour with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • grated rind of 2 oranges

Orange Drizzle

  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 4 oz sugar

Method

  1. Beat the butter and sugar till fluffy
  2. Beat in eggs one at a time
  3. Fold in the sifted flour slowly
  4. Add milk with last tablespoon of flour
  5. Add the grated rind
  6. In a small saucepan, melt the sugar in the orange juice over a low heat, and leave to cool
  7. Pour the batter into a small greased pan and bake on 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until cooked.
  8. Cool the cake, make slits with a sharp knife and drizzle with the syrup before serving.