Plums make a sweet addition in the cake and the versatile stone fruit is at its best in summer
- 1½ cups plain flour
- 2 tspns baking powder
- ¼ tspn salt
- Scant ¼ tspn ground cardamom (optional)
- 5 tblspns unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 1½ tspns pure vanilla extract
- 8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted
- 300ml tub double cream
- A few sprigs of mint
Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Butter a 22cm round cake pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet. You can also cut a circle of baking paper to fit the pan base.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom (if you’re using it). Working with a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it’s soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Still working on medium speed, beat in the oil, zest and vanilla – the batter will look smooth and creamy, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter; jiggling the plums a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes – during which time the plums’ juices will seep back into the cake – then run a knife around the side of the ring pan and remove the cake. Invert and cool right side up.
To store: wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.
To serve: cut into wedges and serve with a generous dollop of double cream and a mint leaf.