Sunday, 19 June 2011

Sponge cake with plums and crumble

This may not be the quickest cake to make, but as they say "something worth having is something worth waiting for"... And the smell of this cake baking is fantastic.


500g plain flour
40g fresh yeast or 20g instant yeast
about 1/4l milk in room temperature
2 egg yolks
100-150g caster sugar
100g butter, melted
candied lemon peel or peel of one lemon finely chopped
vanilla extract
700g halved plums with the stones removed or other fruit of choice, i.e. sliced rhubarb, wedges of cored apples, halved strawberries, wedges of peaches, etc

For the crumble

50g butter
80g flour
50g caster sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract or a tsp of vanilla sugar

grind cinnamon
icing sugar to decorate

1. Put flour in a non-metallic bowl and warm up in the microwave for 20sec (this will help the yeast mix to develop quicker)

2. In a separate bowl mix the yeast with 1tbsp of sugar and 100g flour. Add to it so much of the milk, so the mix has a 'double cream' consistency (a bit thicker than custard). Cover the bowl with some oiled cling film and put aside in warm place to develop and raise.

Cooking Monster's Tip: If using fresh yeast make sure you mix it well with the sugar first, breaking the yeast well, before adding the flour and milk to it.
For the raising, I find the best place inside my top grill/oven which is above the  main oven warming up at gas mark 6 or equivalent. If you don't have this facility, you can use an airing cupboard, or put it by the radiator.

3. When the yeast mix has risen, start making the cake! Put the sugar in TM bowl and grind (25sec/Speed 10)

4. Insert the Butterfly Whisk.  Turn the blades at Speed 3 and add the egg yolks one at the time mixing well after each, and mix together until pale (about 2 minutes)

5. Stop the blades, remove the Butterfly Whisk,  add the yeast mix, the remaining flour, the rest of the milk, pinch of salt, lemon peel and few drops of vanilla extract. Set the TM to mix it together (Mixtopf geschlossen/Teigstufe) until well combined. You want the dough to be smooth, shiny and create the bubbles of air on the top.

6. When it reaches the desired look, add the melted butter a little bit at the time and keep mixing at the Mixtopf geschlossen/Teigstufesetting, to make it fluffy.

7. Scrape the dough out of the TM bowl into a clean bowl, smooth the top, cover first with oiled cling film and a kitchen towel on the top and put aside in a warm place to rise. This might take anything from 1-2 hours, depending on how warm the place is and the condition of the yeast mixture.

8. Grease and lightly flour a large, square baking tray (ideally pick the one with 3 sides, if you can get it). Melt a little bit of butter in a bowl and set aside to cool down a little bit. When the dough doubles in size, drop it onto the baking tray. Dip your fingertips in the melted butter and stretch the dough evenly across the whole baking tray. Smooth the top. Arrange the chosen fruit (I must admit, the plums are my favourite choice by far!), on the top of the whole dough, skin side up.

9. Turn the oven on a very low temperature (50°C/gas 1) and put the prepared cake into the oven, keep the door slightly open and let it raise for 15-20 minutes.

10. During the raising time prepare the crumble. Weigh the flour and butter into TM bowl. Turbo pulse until crumbs. Add sugar and vanilla. Turbo pulse a few more times to mix.

11. When the cake is ready to bake, evenly cover it with the crumble, and sprinkle with the cinnamon. Turn the oven up to 180°C-190°C and bake 30-40 minutes.

When done, remove from the oven, still warm slide out of the baking tray  (with a help of a pallet knife) onto a cooling rack or wooden chopping board and let it cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into squares 6x6 cm.


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