This fruitcake is hard to beat in terms of flavour or simplicity. The base bakes into a nice, dense, lightly spiced cake, while the fruit on top is just cooked, juicy and tart. If all that is not enough, there is an added crunch provided by keeping some of the dough aside to use as a streusel topping — a nifty little baking trick from Middle Europe. It feels like something the Austrian grandmother we never had would have on her kitchen counter, scenting the house.
This recipe works well throughout the year, as long as the fruit you are using is sharp — raspberries or currants will do a good job for you here, as will rhubarb or even cooking apples. But at this time of year we can think of nothing better than a favourite combo of ours: figs and plums.
There are a few weeks at the tail end of summer when both are in season and they make an ace team: the late-season figs are almost sickly-sweet now, and respond well to the sharpness of the early plums. You could also try them together fresh, in a sweet or savoury salad, or boil them for jam or chutney with your preferred mix of spices.
In this cake they are baked together. The figs will melt into the dough, giving sweetness and a slight crunch from the seeds, while the plums will hold out a bit more, making each mouthful sharp and different. Serve the cake slightly warm from the oven, with a cooling spoon of soured cream.
Fig and plum crumble cake
|To make a 23cm cake|
|120g||light brown sugar|
|(and, if you wish, extra for serving)|
|Zest of 1 orange|
|1 tsp||ground cinnamon|
|1 tsp||ground ginger|
|For the topping|
|3 tbs||jam of your choice, but ideally plum or fig|
|300g||figs cut into wedges|
|300g||greengage plums cut into quarters and stones removed|
|1 tbs||light brown sugar|
- Preheat oven to 160C with fan assist.
- Mix all the dough ingredients together in a bowl until they form a ball. Remove 200g of the dough, wrap in cling film and place in the freezer to chill. Press the rest of the dough lightly into your baking tin, spread with the jam and top with the fruit. Sprinkle with the sugar and cornflour. Remove the ball of dough from the freezer and grate it coarsely all over the top of the cake.
- Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, then rotate the cake to bake evenly, and bake for a further 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little in the tin before serving.
Photographs: Patricia Niven