I’m typing this in bed, with tired hands.
Every now and then, often, if you’re lucky, there come moments in a day where life happens, where it expands and suspends at once. I really do wish these moments for everyone. Today, life happened like this – it was at the bakery. Mandal produced a small plate of perfectly baked, crispy, dappled and soft focaccia made out of dough offcuts she’d collected from the mornings work and baked off with a generous amount of salt oil. She sat it down on the bench in the middle of the kitchen with a coffee cup filled with oil and some magic chilli spice she’d fished out of the back of one of the shelves. Aron, who drives the baked goods from bakery to shop front, Mandal and me all stopped what we were doing, wordless, like choreography in a dance routine, to gather round the plate and eat the bread.
As soon as the first bit of bread was eaten, we all came to life, you know, things like words, eye contact, raised eyebrows came about. It was brilliant. One of the highlights in my day.
Like gold dust, my writing, and being alive in general depend on these moments. A vacuum pack bag would be a pretty shit place to live and would produce some equally shit prose. I’ll leave you with that haha.
Note on Plum Syrup Cake (df) (gf) – I’ve been working on a honey cake, this Plumb Syrup Cake Pudding was a happy accident in the process. This is a cake that really wants to be a dessert served with lots of cream and eaten with a spoon, but equally as good as a standalone cake with a damp and dense syrupy base topped with a tart plum compote that holds like jam but isn’t nearly as sickly sweet. This is perfect for a dessert that you need to transport or make ahead of time, and keeps really well for up to 5 days, covered airtight (not in a vacuum bag haha) in the fridge.
For the Cake
- 55g ground almonds
- 45g rice flour
- 50g granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 50ml recently boiled water
- 75g honey
- 50ml vegetable or sunflower oil
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
For the Compote
- 150g plums – with the stone removed, cut into small chunks.
- 4.5g cornflour
- 20g granulated sugar
- 25g lemon juice
Pre heat the oven to 190 / 170 fan. Grease and line an 18cm / 7inch round cake tin.
Measure all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. In a jug or separate bowl, mix the boiled water, honey, oil, and vanilla extract. Add this to the bowl of dry ingredients, along with the 2 eggs and whisk to combine. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 – 33 mins, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before turning it out and topping with the compote.
While the cake cools make the compote. In a small bowl, combine 100 grams of the plums with the cornflour, making sure all the fruit is coated, set aside. In a small saucepan add 50 grams of the plums, the sugar and lemon juice. Heat on medium for 2 -3 mins. The mixture will bubble, the fruit will break down to almost a liquid and the sugar will dissolve. Depending on how ripe your plums are, you might want to use a wooden spoon to mash the mixture a bit while it bubbles away. At this stage, add the cornflour plums to the saucepan, stirring on the heat for another minute, until the cornflour has cooked off. Pour into a clean bowl and allow the compote to cool before spreading it over the cake’s top.
Enjoy the cake Joe! Missing you X