I haven’t baked anything recently (probably because I spend most of my time eating airplane food) and I realized the other day that I really miss it. Though I miss the process of making, I definitely miss the results much more! Everyone knows a piece of cake and a cup of coffee or tea in my case, makes you feel like the world is back in order. The problem is that it requires a bit of time to whip one up and time is always tight when your world feels like it’s out of order!
Baking for me is very much a labour of love. I need to be in the right state of mind and have a touch of patience as there’s much more opportunity for things to go wrong compared to cooking. However, when I am in the right state of mind, I absolutely love it – more than cooking perhaps. So the other day I made some much needed me time and decided to try out something new. Though I love the taste and texture of cakes risen with yeast, I’ve been a bit hesitant to give it a try. It’s a different world of baking, one which you have much less control and need a bit more time.
This recipe is very much German inspired as yeasted cakes are oh so popular here. There are so many topping possibilities with a yeast risen base but at this time of year there is nothing better than baked plums. They come out of the oven transformed and in a syrupy sauce tinting everything the most beautiful color of pink.
I really like that this cake is only mildly sweet and the focus is very much on the plums. A little hint of cardamom and the bite of the almond meal add a touch of complexity. If you prefer a little more sweetness, feel free to drizzle a bit of honey on top or sprinkle with a large helping of powdered sugar. Make sure to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee and at least 5 minutes peace. I promise, your day will be infinitely better!
Cardamom Spiced Plum Kuchen
- 450g plain flour
- 7g dry yeast
- 250 ml almond milk
- 100g almond meal
- 60g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 80g butter
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- zest of 1 lemon
- 900g Italian prune plums
- powdered sugar or honey to finish
In a large bowl add the plain flour and make a large well in the center. Add in the yeast and the almond milk in to the well and give them a small mix so the yeast is fully hydrated. Cover with a tea towel and let sit for 15 minutes.
Next, add the remaining ingredients and bring together with a large spoon. The dough will be a bit sticky, but bring it into a ball and then turn out onto a very lightly floured surface. Knead until the surface is smooth and the dough is lovely and elastic. This should take about 10-15 minutes and keep in mind that it won’t be completely smooth because of the almond meal. Place back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm spot for 45 min -1 hour until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, prepare the plums. Slice the plums into four sections around the stone taking care to leave a little connected at the base. Then open enough to remove the stone.
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Lightly grease a 9×13 deep baking tray.
Punch down the dough lightly and gently place into the baking tray. Push out the dough evenly to the edges. Arrange the plums onto the dough pushing the connected section down into the dough so the plum can stand upright. Open it up a bit to create a flour shape and make sure it is well anchored.
Leave for 5-10 minutes until slightly risen. Then place into the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or brush on some honey to finish.