Polish Plum Cake (with olive oil)


It's been a long long while since my last post. Summer has been super hot these last few days and we've been staying indoors (although the air-conditioning didn't work too well in these extreme conditions). It didn't help that I decided to bake  yesterday afternoon knowing that it was already as hot as an oven outside!



So, ever since i tried the Polish plum cake from Monarch Cakes at St Kilda a couple of years ago, I've been wanting to bake something similar though I never settled on which recipe to use (there are a few on the internet, where they differ in terms of whether butter or oil is used, and some are yeast-based (which is apparently the traditional Polish version). With plums being in season right now, I decided it was time I made the attempt to bake a light, airy, sponge-like cake studded with tart plums that have caramaelized to a jammy consistency. Well, at least that's how I remembered it.

Ready for tea with a dusting of icing sugar
Although using butter gives the cake a richer and "superior" flavour compared to using oil, I wanted the cake to have that light sponge-like texture that I remembered. So, I settled on a recipe by Ren Behan who grew up in a Polish household, and she learnt this recipe from her mum. Perfect! I'm so glad I made this cake. Not only did my kitchen smell so good that I forgot how hot it was, but the cake tasted totally fabulous! Amazingly good and such a simple recipe too. It was so moist, light, sweet and delicious with the jammy plum that had partially soaked into the cake. I also topped the cake with raw sugar before baking which gave it a lovely crunchy top. And what's more, this cake is filled with plums (healthy and full of fibre!) and contains NO BUTTER! Instead, it uses olive oil which boasts plenty of health benefits as it contains monounsaturated fatty acids (the good stuff!).

Scroll down for the recipe, and start baking!

Lovely fresh plums going into the batter
Polish Plum Cake
(adapted from Ren Behan)

Ingredients

8-10 plums, stones removed (I used 6 large plums instead)
1 cup / 200g caster sugar
4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
1  cup / 240ml mild, light olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons plain, natural yoghurt
2 cups / 250g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon raw sugar (optional)
Icing sugar for dusting

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius / 375 F. Grease and line a rectangular baking tray (20x30cm) with parchment paper.

Chop the fresh plums into halves or quarters and remove and discard the stones. Set to one side.

Put the beaten eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk well, using an electric whisk if you have one until the mixture starts to thicken. Gradually pour in the oil and vanilla extract and keep whisking until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add in the vanilla, lemon zest and yoghurt. Mix together well.

Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold or mix with a metal spoon until all the flour is incorporated.

Pour the batter carefully into the tray and gently press the plums into the top.
(Optional: sprinkle the top of the cake with raw sugar)

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

Leave to cool before serving in slices. You can serve this cake with more yoghurt and fruit on the side, or with a spoonful of fresh cream. It will keep will in a tin for up to four days.
(Note: I stored it in the fridge, and it was delicious eaten cold!)