Plum and Pear Cake


I had a last handful of my Nannie’s homegrown plums left and some more my friend’s pears so thought I’d try one last bake!

This is a really nice, moist sponge type of cake – perfect with a cup of tea on a Sunday afternoon! It’s delicious whilst still warm, but actually gets better the next day so is something you can easily make in advance. It’s a large cake and can comfortably serve 10-12 slices. I used half spoon sugar and a light spread to reduce the calories a bit so each slice was around 300 cals.

(If you want to make it egg free then egg replacer works well with this recipe πŸ™‚ )

You will need:

300g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

225g Sugar (I used half spoon)

225g margarine or butter (I used a light non dairy spread)

4 large eggs

4-5 plums

1-2 small pears

Juice of half a lemon

cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top

 

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together bowl.

In another bowl cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy and light in color.

Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl to ensure it’s mixed well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Spoon batter into a greased or lined 25cm spring form pan.

Cut the plums in halves and the pears in quarters (unless large then cut smaller). Arrange the plums and pears, skin side up as much as possible , all over the batter. Push them down in to the batter until partially covered.

Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon and finally a sprinkling of sugar.

Pop in the centre of the ovens for approximately 45-50 minutes or until cake is golden and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for ten mins then remove and cool on a rack.

Lightly dust with icing sugar before serving and then enjoy with a nice cup of tea!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Xxx

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Pear and Plum Jammy Slice


This is a really sticky, yummy afternoon treat and a perfect way to use up any late plums and seasonal pears.

I recently lost my beloved Nannie. She loved baking and was a legend in the kitchen! We harvested the last plums from her plum tree last week and I made a final batch of jam. I had a few plums left over, and some pears from a lovely friend, so decided to put all three together and create something Nannie would have approved of! This slice isn’t elegant, and it isn’t pretty, but it’s damn tasty!

I used half spoon sugar and a light spread to save some calories but you can use normal sugar and any spread / butter you like. It serves around 12 and is only around 204 cals per slice!

You will need:

160g Plain flour

64g Ground almonds

50g sugar (I used half spoon)

170g Dairy free spread

1 large egg

2 tbsp water

1.5 tsp Baking powder

Approx 200g Plum jam

1 – 2 pears (I used a conference pears)

2-3 plums

Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease and line a small baking tin (mine was approx 7 x 10 inches).

Add the flour, almonds, sugar and baking powder to a large bowl.

Mix well and add the spread. You can either use a processor or a fork to mix it in until it resembles bread crumbs. I used a fork so it’s quite lumpy breadcrumbs but that doesn’t matter!

Add the egg and water and mix well. It will form a sticky dough.

Spread it in the baking tin.

Spread the jam over the top – be generous with the jam!

Slice the pears and plums and lay them on the jam.

Pop in the oven and cook for at least 25 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool a bit before you slice.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚ Xx

Plum Jam


I was lucky enough to be given a load of Victoria plums from a friend – so what better thing to do with them than whip up some jam! I wanted to go for a slightly lower sugar jam so I used mostly halfspoon sugar but you could use normal sugar (just bear in mind you’ll need more sugar – a 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit if so). You can use any weight of fruit you have, just adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly.

You will need:

900g Plums

500g Halfspoon sugar or 900g of jam sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

(Tiny knob of butter/spread – optional)

To start with pop a saucer in the freezer (to test the jam later!). De-stone and chop the plums in to quarters or small pieces (keep an eye out for the little maggots that sometimes get in them!).

Pop the plums in to a large saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.Using a very gentle heat start to warm them up, folding the sugar in until it melts.

Bring it up to the boil gently (the key is taking your time so keep the heat low). Stir occasionally. Once it’s boiling you can turn it up a little and let it simmer for 5-10 mins.

A froth may form – if it does you can either skim it off with a spoon, or you can add a tiny bit of spread/butter to disperse the froth, or just leave it (I left it – I’m not too fussed about it!).

Test the jam after 10 mins or so. Put a small amount on the saucer from the freezer leave it for a min or so. If you can create a trail through the jam that doesn’t refill, or if the jam crinkles up when you push it, then it’s ready. If it’s still runny allow it to simmer for another couple of minutes and test again. If the fruit is very ripe you may find it takes much longer – it’s all about the ratio of water to sugar so keep boiling off the water (or you can add a little extra sugar too).

Pop some clean jars in the oven at about 100 C for ten mins or so. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into the jars.

Apply wax seals and cellophane if you have it (Lakeland and other places do fab little sets, but if not you can just put the lid on). Allow to cool, label and store in the fridge.

It should be ready to eat after 24hrs. If it turns out not to have set then it’s no drama, you just have a lovely plum compote to pour over yoghurt, pancakes or ice cream instead! Plum jam does have a tendency to over set – if you find it’s a tad rubbery don’t panic – empty the jars back in to a pan, heat gently and add a little water to loosen it. Perform the saucer test again and then pop back into the jars (having cleaned and sterilised then again).

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Xx

Ps also delicious spread on a slice of plum and cinnamon loaf (recipe here)!

Plum and Cinnamon Loaf


I got given a massive haul of Victoria Plums from a kind friend, some of which I used to make some jam, and with the rest I thought I’d do a little baking!

As we head in to late summer and thoughts turn to autumn I thought I’d go for some autumnal flavours – plum and cinnamon! This makes one loaf which serves 8-10, at around 205 cals a slice!

You will need:

140g self-raising flour (any type you like)

140g dairy-free spread (I used a light version to save some calories)

140 sugar (or 70g half spoon sugar for less cals)

2 large eggs and one egg yolk, beaten

200g plums

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Put the spread and sugar and beat lightly until fluffy. Add in the beaten egg a little at a time and beat well in between each bit.

Mix the flour and cinnamon and then add in to the wet mixture, fold it in.

Chop all bout approx 2-3 plums in to small pieces. Slice the 2-3 plums in to wedges (to decorate the top). Add the chopped plums and mix well.

Pour in to a loaf tin. Arrange the plum wedges on the top and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar.

Put in the oven and bake for 50-60 mins. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 mins, then remove. Slice and serve!

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Xx

Nancy’s Mince Pies!


Many of you have tried my little mini mince pies at my festive classes and a few have asked for the recipe so I thought I’d re-blog it for you πŸ€—.

I make mini pies for my classes using a canapΓ© or mini muffin tin – they come in at approx 47 cals per pie so are a perfect little mouthful, but you can obvious make any size you like! The recipe below makes 12 normal pies or approx 24-30 mini ones.

These happen to be both gluten and dairy-free so everyone can enjoy them.

For the Pastry:

4 oz Buckwheat flour
2 oz ground Almonds
5 tbsp Agave nectar
Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the Mincemeat:

3 oz Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped
6 oz Mixed dried fruit (I prefer equal quantities of raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz brown sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado give the best flavour)
Juice and grated zest of half an Orange
1 level tsp of ground allspice
1 pinch ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch grated / ground Nutmeg
1 small handful chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Date syrup

Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the apple is soft and the mixture is thick – it may take some time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

For the Pastry: Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. You can also do this by hand in a bowl – it’s just a bit messier. Once it’s forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil a 12 hole cake tin. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. The pastry can be a bit difficult to handle so I find working with smaller bits at a time is easier. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out 12 bases. Place them in the tin. Lightly brush with oil and use a fork to prick the base.

Place in an oven to blind bake for 5–10 mins (or 3-7 mins for mini ones). Keep an eye on them – this pastry browns quite fast. Once the edges are brown and the middle is firm remove them. While the cases are in the oven take a smaller circular biscuit cutter to cut out the β€œlids” or you could use star shapes/ holly leaf shapes/lattice pattern – whatever takes your fancy πŸ™‚

Place a generous helping of mincemeat in each of the cases and place your chosen β€œlid” on top. Lightly oil and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and sugar. Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (10–20 mins for large ones, 5 – 10 for mini ones). Keep a careful eye on them. You want the tops to brown but be careful the bases don’t burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Xx

Spiced carrot and banana cake


I do love a bargain… as does my fab friend Jo – who spotted some bargain 9p carrots and just had to buy them for me lol! So I thought I’d better put them to good use in a spiced carrot and banana cake! Perfect autumn flavours! Simple to make, super tasty, and really light and moist! This is about 375 cals per slice if you cut it in to 8-10 (it’s a nice deep cake!)

You will need:

4 large eggs

140g sugar

250ml sunflower or almond oil,m

275g self-raising flour

1 large ripe banana (approx 175g)

200g carrots

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

Preheat the oven to 180 C

Grate the carrot coarsely and place to one side.

Put the eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl and beat to combine.

Mash the banana with a fork and add that, the flour, baking powder, spices and carrots to the mix and beat it together.

Pour in to a 20cm tin and bake for 45 – 50 mins or until golden brown, firm in the middle and shrinking away from the sides of the cake tin.

Cool in the tin for 10 mins and then place on a wire rack.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Xx

Plum and almond loaf


My wonderful 103 yr old Nan has a lovely Victoria plum tree in her garden and this year she had such a bumper crop that I was lucky enough to get a huge bagful! So I thought I’d better bake something to go and share with her over a cuppa to say thank you.

I’m a massive almond fan and they go so well with plums so I thought a plum and almond loaf would do the trick! It’s a delicious moist loaf, and only about 298 cals for a slice!

You will need:

225g dairy-free spread (or bitter)

225g sugar (I used 112g of half spoon sugar instead)

225g self-raising flour (any flour you like)

100g ground almonds

4 medium eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp cinnamon

Approx 250g plums,

Flaked almonds to decorate

Optional – 2 tbsp plum or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 170.

Put the spread and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat (don’t worry if it splits a bit). Add the flour, cinnamon and ground almonds and fold together.

Chop 2/3 of the plums into small pieces and add in to the batter, together with the almond extract. Fold until well distributed.

Spoon the mixture into a lined or greased loaf tin. Slice the remaining plums and on the top. Sprinkle on the flaked almonds and a little sugar and cinnamon.

Pop in the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes (check occasionally and cover with foil if it starts to burn on top), or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Brush the jam over the cake and leave to cool completely. Serve in slices with a cuppa (the Nan is optional)!

Enjoy πŸ™‚ xx