It's that time of year where everything and anything seems to contain cinnamon - and we're NOT complaining. The latest culprit? The Great British Bakeoff. Festival week saw an abundance of cinnamon rolls rising in the baker's and viewers were left drooling at their TV screens in need of the festive spice - and we have just the fix. This cinnamon and plum traybake is a delicious way to kickstart the festive season and a tad easier than a signature challenge, ready, steady...bake!
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PLUM CAKE WITH CINNAMON & VANILLA CRUMBLE
Makes 1 traybake, Preparation time 30-35 minutes, plus proving, Cooking time 35-40 minutes
For the yeast dough
• 200ml/7fl oz milk of choice – we use almond milk
• 25g/ scant 1oz dark muscovado sugar
• 10g/1⁄4oz dried yeast
• A pinch of salt
• 375g/13oz/ spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
• 50g/2oz softened butter
For the fruit topping
• 1.5kg/3lb 3oz plums, cut in half
• 1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the crumble
• 100g/4oz spelt flour
• 25g/1oz dark muscovado sugar
• 2-3 drops vanilla extract
• 60g/2 ½ oz chilled butter
• A handful of phlox flowers (optional)
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1. To make the yeast dough, heat the milk in a pan until lukewarm. Add the sugar, yeast and salt and stir well. Use the dough hook on an electric mixer to combine the flour, yeast mixture and butter in a bowl for a couple of minutes, until you have a glossy, supple dough. Cover with a tea towel and leave the dough to prove in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in volume.
2. Meanwhile, for the crumble, rub all the ingredients together in a bowl until you have rough crumbs and leave to chill in the fridge.
3. Knead the yeast dough once again on a floured work surface and roll it out to the size of your tray. Transfer onto a tray lined with baking parchment. Cover the dough with a closely packed layer of plums (cut surface facing up) and scatter with the sugar, ground cinnamon and the crumble. Cover the cake and leave to prove once more for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4). Bake the plum cake in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes then remove and leave to cool. If you wish, decorate with phlox flowers.
5. For a vegan version, you can replace the butter with the same quantity of coconut oil and use a plant-based milk. This cake also tastes great with other varieties of plums or with chopped apple.
This recipe comes from Natural Baking by Carolin Strothe and Sebastian Keitel (published by DK, £12.99) which can be found on Amazon.