Plum cake.
Plum cake.

Shortcake's a plum treat with most autumn fruits

Autumn fruits are sublime in their own way; not as showy as, say, a mango or Shanghai peach, but just as delicious.

Think of ripe, luscious figs (which go beautifully on a cheese platter or poached and served as dessert), tart tamarillos - eaten raw or also poached in a simple sugar syrup - or the many varieties of plum that are available at this time of year.

Any of those can be used in today's recipe, a simple shortcake baked with wedges of autumn fruit as topping.

Shortcake is synonymous with strawberries, but any fruit in season can be paired with the simple base. It's not unlike shortbread but is more cake-like in texture thanks to the inclusion of an egg and a rising agent (in this case, baking powder).

Today's version uses plums but you could use just about any fruit in season; figs would be delicious. Try serving it with a dollop of thick cream or Greek yoghurt.

PLUM SHORTCAKE

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

200g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing tin; 3/4 cup caster sugar; 1 large free-range egg; 1 tsp vanilla paste; 2 cups plain flour; 2 tsp baking powder; 6-8 large ripe plums; thick cream or Greek yoghurt, to serve

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a cake tin with a little butter and line base with baking paper.

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla while still beating; the mixture may look like it has curdled but that won't matter.

Sift the flour and baking powder together into the wet ingredients and fold in until combined. Turn batter into the prepared cake tin and press gently across the base.

Slice plums into wedges, discarding the stones. Pack plums on to the shortcake and bake for 30-35 minutes or until done. Cool shortcake in the tin.

If plums are a little tart, you can dust them with a little icing sugar. Serve with a dollop of thick cream or Greek yoghurt.

maggies.column@bigpond.com



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