RECIPE: Cardamom, plum and fig cake

Jenny Bristow's cardamom, plum and fig cake

'The secret of this cake is to pack it so full of ripe plums – top and bottom – that it can be served either way up. Choose plums that are ripe but firm so that they will hold their shape when cooked,' advises Jenny Bristow.

450g/1lb plums – halved and stoned
450g/1lb figs – quartered
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon
6–8 cardamom pods – roughly crushed
25g/1oz demerara sugar

4 eggs
175g/6oz caster sugar
250g/9oz self-raising flour – sieved
175g/6oz butter – softened
50g/2oz ground almonds
50g/2oz flaked almonds
2 dsp runny honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
2–3 dsp milk – optional

demerara sugar or icing sugar for dusting

Place the plums and figs in a large bowl with the zest, cardamom and sugar and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.

Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Add the flour and butter, mixing lightly. Finally, add the ground and flaked almonds, honey and vanilla extract and mix well. If the mixture is a little stiff, add a little milk.

A Taste of SunshineLine a loose-bottomed cake tin, approximately 18–20cm / 7–8 inches in diameter, with greaseproof paper. Remove the cardamom pods from the bowl and arrange a layer of plums and figs on the bottom of the cake tin. Pour the cake mixture over the fruit and smooth the surface with a spatula. Arrange the remaining fruit on top of the cake. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees C / Gas mark 4 for 45–50 minutes, until the cake is cooked, golden and firm.

Remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle with a little demerara sugar or dust with icing sugar. Delicious served hot or cold, on its own, or topped with yoghurt and honey.

This recipe and many more are available in Jenny Bristow's book A Taste of Sunshine, published by Blackstaff Press, available in all good bookshops.