A wonderfully moist, fresh plum cake courtesy of Nigel Slater

I adapted a recipe from Nigel Slater’s wonderful book ‘The Kitchen Diaries’ today. Not that the recipe really needed adapting – I’m sure the original recipe, with little or no tampering, would have been great… but due to personal tastes, and seasonal discrepancies between the northern and southern hemisphere, tampering was required!

Coconut is one of my favourite additions to cakes. I love the beautiful smell it has when it’s baked, and the slightly nutty crunchy texture it brings to a light-as-air cake crumb. Vanilla is also another thing I happily add to pretty much any sweet baking, sure in the knowledge that the end product will be further enhanced by the addition. And the taste of tart, summery plums… You get where I’m coming from, right?

Straight from the oven

And so to MY recipe, adapted from Nigel’s:

150gm butter
100gm caster sugar
50gm dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
130gm flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
30gm ground almond
50gm shredded coconut
1 tin plums (I used Black Doris)

More dark brown sugar, and cinnamon for sprinkling.

Set oven to 180c (Gas Mark 4). Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add vanilla. In another bowl, sift flour and baking powder, add ground almonds and coconut – mix together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a large spoon. Scrape the batter into a greased cake tin and carefully place the plums on top, pushing in slightly. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top, then bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is starting to brown a little.

I call it 'simple' - some may say my food styling and photography skills need some work!

Mmmm, that beautiful sweet coconutty scent will be filling your kitchen in no time as it did with mine! I highly recommend consuming a large piece with a nice cup of tea, accompanied by a good book (though my current ‘good book’ – The Girl Who Played With Fire – is the reason I have been totally neglecting my blog over the past week, so on second thoughts, don’t listen to my recommendation at all).


Playing Victorian parlour games

I was killing time at a book shop today and came across a very sweet book called ‘Parlour Games for Modern Families‘. I’m ALL for keeping children entertained without TV, computer games etc, but I know how hard it can be to drag the little brats away from modern conveniences (mine would scream blue murder if they thought they were going to miss out on some silly programme). I had a quick flick through the book and came across a few that I had played when I was little (maybe that’s why I liked it…?). Does anyone remember ‘Wink Murder’ when a group sits in a circle and someone is the ‘murderer’ and has to wink at people to kill them, without being found out or seen by anybody else?

The book contains instructions on how to play games which only need paper and pen, dice, cards or a dictionary, or just your imagination! It’s such a nice way to pass the time, and have some fun with your family, adults too.