More cake today. This time with fruit which totally makes it healthy. And with big gooey pockets of custard which makes it more healthy. Custard’s good for you right? Lots of calcium, good for strong bones. Ahem. The idea for this cake has been kicking around for a while now going through various transformations in my head before it ever even hit the mixing bowl. The first seed of inspiration came from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet, an encyclopaedia of all things good, which has a recipe for apple and walnut cake dotted with custard. I pinched the custard element and reduced the sugar since his recipes always turn out too sweet for my tastes. The cake is a basic sponge made with both caster and soft brown sugar for a caramel depth and spiced with nutmeg, the traditional and perfect flavour pairing for creamy custard and a good match with plums.
My first attempt at this recipe came out much too sweet for my tastes so the version below has been somewhat revised. It’s still a sweet cake, just enough to balance the sharpness of the plums, but now it doesn’t overwhelm the custard pockets which are a lovely textural element but initially got a bit lost in the flavour stakes. Now the custard shines through in all its eggy richness pairing perfectly with the musky nutmeg. This cake encapsulates all the flavours of a proper autumnal pudding. Don’t be put off by the number of steps in the recipe the actual effort is a matter of minutes, the waiting time in between steps can be spent cozying up with a mug of tea and a good book.
Roasted plum and nutmeg custard cake
For the custard:
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 30g sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 175ml milk
For the roasted plums:
- 8 ripe plums
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
For the cake:
- 180g butter, softened
- 75g caster sugar
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 180g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp milk
Make the custard a few hours before you want to make the cake.
In a small pan whisk together the cornflour and sugar to get rid of any lumps. Whisk in the egg, vanilla and milk.
Heat slowly and bring to the boil whisking constantly until thick then pour into a buttered bowl, cover with cling film and chill until set.
To prepare the plums rinse, dry and quarter them discarding the stones. Toss with the maple syrup and nutmeg and bake at 200°C for 25 minutes until just tender. Allow to cool.
To make the cake grease and line a 20cm (8″) square cake tin and heat the oven to 170°C.
Cream together the butter and sugars until pale. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Sift over the flour, nutmeg and baking powder and fold in. Fold in the milk.
Cut half of the plums into quarters (making sixteenths) and fold through the cake batter.
Turn out the custard, cut into pieces and very gently fold into the batter taking care not to work them in too much.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level with a spatula. Top with the remaining plums and bake for 50−55 minutes. Cover with foil after about 20 minutes to stop the top burning.
The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean (although if you hit a custard pocket you might need to check another spot). Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out to cool.