Nigel Slater’s Winter Plum Cake with Spiced Ice

We at Ali Miller love Nigel Slater’s inspirational recipes and philosophies on home cooking. We thought we’d try this and snuggle up as the evening grows darker..Ali_Miller_TheGlade059-min

Serves 8
For the cake:
butter 200g
light muscovado sugar 75g
golden caster 75g
hazelnuts 100g, skinned
plums 500g, medium-sized
eggs 4
self-raising wholemeal flour 150g
baking powder 1 tsp
ground cinnamon ½ tsp
salt a pinch

For the icing:
icing sugar 150g
lemon juice 3 tsp
ground cinnamon a pinch
cardamom pods 6
sesame seeds 2 tsp
poppy seeds 2 tsp
dried rose petals 2 tsp


Set the oven at 160C/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 22cm spring-form baking tin. Dice the butter and put it in a food mixer with the sugars and beat for 5 minutes, till light and fluffy – the colour of latte. Regularly push the mixture down from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure even creaming.

While the butter and sugar cream, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan, watching carefully and moving them round the pan so they colour evenly. Grind to a fine powder in a food processor. Cut the plums in half and discard their stones.

Beat the eggs lightly with a fork then add, slowly, with the paddle turning, to the butter and sugar. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and the ground hazlenuts, then add to the batter, mixing it together thoroughly. Scrape the batter into the lined cake tin and gently smooth the surface.

Place the plums evenly on the surface of the cake. You want them to sink into the body of the cake as it bakes. Bake for 50–60 minutes till the cake is spongy to the touch. (Test for doneness after 50 minutes with a metal skewer: it should come out without any uncooked cake mixture sticking to it.)

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to settle for 20 minutes. Run a palette knife around the inside of the tin to the loosen the cake, then undo the tin and place on a plate.

Make the icing: sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, stir in the lemon juice, adding a little water if required to bring it to a thick, pouring consistency. Stir in the ground cinnamon. Crack open the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and grind them to a fine powder. Stir into the icing. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan till golden, then mix them with the poppy seeds and rose petals.

Transfer the cake to a plate, then trickle the spiced icing over the surface. Scatter with the poppy seeds and rose petals.

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