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Plum Compote With Rich Almond Cake


1 lb red plums
1 wineglass red wine, or port
4 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange

Rich almond cake

4 oz butter
5 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
3 oz ground almonds
1 oz plain flour
2-3 drops of almond essence

Deep 7-inch diameter sandwich tin


Pour wine into a pan large enough to take the plums, boil until reduced to half the quantity. Add redcurrant jelly, stir gently until dissolved, then add the orange rind and juice.

Halve and stone the plums and put rounded side down (cut side uppermost) in the pan; let syrup boil up and over fruit, then poach gently until fruit is quite tender. Allow a full 10 minutes for this, even if the fruit is ripe. Turn fruit into a bowl to cool; serve with a rich almond cake.

Rich almond cake: Grease and flour sandwich tin, cover base with disc of greaseproof paper; set the oven at 350°F or Mark 4.

Soften butter with a wooden spoon in a bowl, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, and beat thoroughly until mixture is soft and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, adding one-third of the almonds with each egg. Beat well. Fold in the flour and al­mond essence with a metal spoon and turn cake mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake in pre-set oven for 45-50 minutes until cake is cooked. (Test by inserting a thin skewer; it should come out clean.) When cooked, the cake should also shrink very slightly from the sides of the tin.

To turn out, have ready two wire cooling racks, put a clean folded tea towel or single thickness of absorbent paper on one of them. Loosen the sides of the cake with a round-bladed knife, place the rack with the towel or paper on top of the cake (towel next to it) and turn over; remove the tin and disc of paper from the base.

Place second rack on top of cake base and carefully and quickly turn it over again. This prevents the rack marking top of cake. Dust top with caster sugar.

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