Cooking with Plums


Last week, I had a missed call from a teacher at my sons’ school.  It was just after the New Year break and I was still hanging about on my deck at a Bach in the Coromandel.  I honestly thought, good grief, how could the boys be in trouble already when school is still out!

So, it was with much relief to discover that it was actually kilos of fresh plums on offer and a query as to who may appreciate them being gifted.  After a massive washing basket full were delivered to the City Mission here in Auckland, I figured I could do some justice to some too. I arrived presumptuously to the door, with silver pail in hand, and was met with the aroma of bubbling plum jam.  Intoxicated by the perfume of fresh stone fruit, it was with excitement that I came home to determine how to best utilise this beautiful gift.

Never one to just do a single recipe (Master Chef memories flooding in) I came up with the plan for roasting some and serving immediately with a coconut rice pudding for those of us at home.

I recreated the almond and pear tart from my own cookbook (The Fearless Kitchen) into a plum and almond cake, which was totally delicious.

The rest became sauces and chutneys.  I say chutneys in the plural because I did one batch with tomatoes and one with apples, and a typical Kiwi plum sauce – which I must admit is addictive.
I have Kirsten Day’s book “In a Pickle” to thank for the plum chutney and sauce recipe.  Super simple and straightforward and I had pots bubbling in no time.

The plum and tomato chutney was inspired by another Kiwi cookbook author and blogger, Nicola Galloway and you can check her out here – her recipe is for a sauce, but I decided to peel and core the apples and create a chunky chutney.  I noticed another reader had attempted to do the same – great to have a recipe that can result in two outcomes!

So, I figured that it would be a lovely share to write out my recipe for the cake.  It is moist, decadent and full of the flavour of Summer.  I just know you are going to love it as much as my son and I have done.  I have even managed to squirrel some away into the freezer for that first week back to school when the boring blues set in for us all!

Plum Cake

A deliciously moist Summery dessert, laden with fresh plums and a hint of almond and dark chocolate.
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, plum


  • 175 g butter
  • 600 g plums
  • 175 g brown sugar
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 175 g ground almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp almonds


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C. Butter and line the base of a round 20cm cake tin. Roughly chop the plums.

    Put the sugar, butter, in an electric mixer and mix until smooth.

    Add self raising flour, ground almonds, eggs and baking powder and mix again for 1-2 mins, until smooth and light. Stir in the chopped plums and chocolate, then tip into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.

    Scatter over chopped almonds. Bake for 40-50 mins until the top is golden and the cake feels firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out, remove the paper and cool on a wire rack.


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