plum cake

Words and recipe by Ren Behan

Food Revolution Day on Friday 16th May is once again poised to highlight cooking real food from scratch, with a particular emphasis on involving kids. It’s all about getting youngsters to learn about food – to enjoy cooking it, eating it, preparing it and even growing it.

With so many of my own childhood memories associated with real, homemade Polish food, I almost take it for granted that I had a mother who adored and celebrated food. As émigrés, recipes and dishes were often closely linked with nostalgia and memories from home. An appreciation of good food was gently woven into our everyday lives, without ever making a big deal about it. There was always a mixing bowl at the ready for us, and family meals were based on ingredients often home grown or bought from smaller independent retailers – including the fish man who sold fresh produce door-to-door weekly from his van. How times change!

Now, with a family of my own, I try whenever I can to pass on these memories and lessons, as I believe it’s really important for children to understand where their food comes from as they grow up.

The recipe I’m sharing today is a Polish plum cake known as a Placek z Sliwkami (or sometimes a fruit sponge Ciasto biszkoptowe z owocami). It is the very first cake I learned to make with my mother and is the cake my children most enjoy helping me with now. You can use almost any fruit, and while stone fruits work particularly well, sliced apples or a scattering of berries are just as delicious.

plum cake

Children can assist with every stage of this recipe, and it’s a perfect one for them to learn some of the baking basics from – such as greasing trays, cracking and beating eggs, grating zest and sifting in flour. They can measure ingredients using scales, cups or even a small tumbler, and will love being given a big bowl of fruit to scatter into the batter!

Polish plum cake recipe

Ingredients

  • 8-10 plums, stones removed
  • One cup/200g caster sugar
  • 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • One 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

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 5/375 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.

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.

plum cake

Have a look at some of Jamie’s fruit recipes for more ideas!

About the author

Ren Behan is a well-known food writer and mum-of-two based in Hertfordshire in the UK. She grew up in a food-loving Polish household and now writes a popular family-friendly and seasonally-inspired blog at www.renbehan.com. Ren enjoys cooking with her two children, aged 6 and 4.

Ren Behan's blog

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  • Katie Bryson

    It’s great to see a recipe from your childhood Ren, and lovely to hear that you now make it with your littlies. I love cooking with my boys, but it has to be a highly pre-organised affair. My 5 YO wants to be in full control of the proceedings which can be a little challenging ;-)

    • Food Ren

      Ahh thanks Katie, you are a real inspiration to your kids, pretty much always cooking from scratch. The fact that they see that is really good – they’ll grow up with an appreciation of real food. Thanks for reading

  • tinnedtoms

    It looks wonderful Ren and extra special as it has lovely memories attached to it. I like that you serve it with extra fruit.

    • Food Ren

      Thanks Jac, I really love fruity cakes and bakes and luckily so do the kids :-) )

  • http://www.howtocookgoodfood.co.uk/ Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    How lovely to follow on the tradition and make this wonderful cake with your own children. I love the kids joining in with baking, they are always keen to help!

    • Food Ren

      Thank you Laura, yes it is really lovely to use family recipes, handed down through the generations. Brings back lovely memories for me.

  • Sarah Trivuncic

    That looks beautiful Ren, baking with plums is so rewarding when their colours come up so fabulously.

    • Food Ren

      Thanks Sarah, I was really surprised by the colour, they were quite dull before being baked and suddenly took on this beautiful purple/peach tone :-)

  • http://zornitsapopova.wordpress.com/ Zornitsa

    I baked this cake yesterday with a small modification as far as the yoghurt was concerned. The final result was gorgeous! I will post it in my blog and will keep baking this for my family.Thank you very much for sharing the recipe and your childhood memories with us Ren!