Quarrels over its exact origins aside, I like to think that my Spiced Plum Streusel Cake is a touch healthier than its original. It is low dairy, low sugar if you wish and yeast-free, because, frankly, who has the patience? Made with wholemeal spelt flour, it’s my current good-for-you cake favourite, too!
Have you seen them? Curvy and of dark burgundy and rich violet skin. The abundance with which plums are gracing the shelves of grocers’ from early March (or August as it happens in the Northern hemisphere) is mesmerizing.
It’s a sure sign that Autumn is here and it’s Autumn that holds some of the most cherished food memories of mine. There were weekend escapades to the woods for wild mushroom picking. And my persistent pleas to help Mum with preserving bountiful fruit and vegetable harvests into relishes, pickles, compotes, sauces and jams for winter.
Now, since moving to the flip-side, I also get to celebrate my birthday in Fall. Hello there 32!
For me, plums signify a change in season and I find them tremendously good at morphing into delicious things. They can be stuffed into potato dumplings, taste lip-puckeringly good pickled (yes!) and make a deliciously sweet yet tart compote. To make homemade plum and prune jam, you require nothing more than those two ingredients – as they contain enough water and sugar to turn into a sticky jam with a couple of hours of gentle cooking.
They also bake well. Almost magically, they hold their shape well when buried in between the spongy and crumbly layers of pastry. When baked their flesh become lusciously tart balancing out the traditional sweetness of the the Streusel cake itself. Quarrels over exact origins aside, I like to think that my version is a little healthier. The base is yeast-free, mainly because yeast requires time and fiddly conditions. Too hard basket, right? Instead, this quick version relies on eggs to lift the base. Since spelt flour is our go-to flour at the moment and much easier to digest in general, I’ve incorporated wholemeal spelt flour into both the base and the crumble. Plus there is the option of using natvia as a sweetener. And, if you take into account that I used coconut oil for the base and butter only for the crumb, it’s pretty low in dairy, too.
This particular Spiced Plum Streusel Cake was my Polish contribution to an International Food Festival hosted by a local church. The cake, literally thrown together at last minute (not something you could do with a yeast dough), proved to be a popular treat disappearing quickly, such is the appeal of the crumble and spice. If only I had been able to find my lamington tin, the base would have been slightly lower and the plum filling more prominent. Perhaps I will add that tin to my birthday wish list for next year.
When life gives you plums, make Spiced Plum Streusel Cake.