Sweet sweet Friday: Plum Crumble Cake

For months now the weather forecasters have been promising us an Indian summer. Now, with the trees outside nearly blown horizontal by winds of up to 130km and rain seeping in the dining room window, I read that they are admitting we might be waiting until 2013. Lovely.

In the meantime, summer must be happening somewhere in New Zealand because the market last week was full of stonefruit - big, juicy Golden Queen peaches and Omega plums. Some of the plums suffered a bit from being squashed on the way home (not to mention being rolled along the kitchen floor by a pair of small hands), so they ended up in this cake.

Plum Crumble Cake
I started experimenting with this cake a few weeks ago, using rhubarb, when Melissa came over for morning tea. I think this version is better - and as luck would have it she's coming over this morning so I'll see what she thinks. Don't be put off by the length of the instructions - with a processor you can get this in the oven in 20 minutes or less (especially if you have a date with Grand Designs on TV. Oh Kevin, how I love thee...)

150g soft butter
300g caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp almond essence (I have a thing for almond essence at the moment, but you could use vanilla)
100g ground almonds
150g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Fruit - about two cups of sliced stonefruit or rhubarb

Crumble topping
50g butter
50g flour
1Tbsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and flour a 22-24cm tin.
Put the crumble ingredients in the processor and whiz briefly. Tip out into a waiting bowl.
Slice the fruit and set aside.
Put the butter and sugar into the processor and whiz until well creamed. Stop the machine and tip in the essence, half the ground almonds and the eggs. Process again for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and pulse again. Tip in the rest of the almonds, the flour and baking powder. Pulse until mixed.
Scrape out into the prepared tin. Top with the fruit, then the crumble mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean-ish. Leave in the tin for five minutes, then turn out carefully. Good warm after watching Kevin McCloud or cold in the morning for breakfast.

Have a sweet, sweet Friday everyone. I had a moment of madness and signed up to do another half-marathon on Sunday... so think of me, when you're lying in bed reading the paper, won't you?
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