8 medium, firm but ripe plums (I used black doris)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground Chinese five-spice
180 grams butter, at room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract,with star anise or plain vanilla
3 large eggs, size 7, lightly beaten
1¾ cups plain flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
lemon juice (optional)
Grease an 8-cup capacity loaf tin and fully line with baking paper. My tin is 25cm × 13cm and 7½ cm deep.
Preheat the oven to 150°C fan bake.
Halve and stone the plums. Cut each half into 3 wedges and set aside. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and five-spice in a bowl and set aside.
Cake: Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and light. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding in a tablespoon of the flour if they start to curdle.
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder and gently mix into the butter mixture. Don’t overbeat or the cake will be tough.
Spread half of the batter in the base of the tin then scatter over half of the plums. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture over the top. Repeat with the remaining batter, plums and sugar.
Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cover the top loosely with foil if getting too brown. Cool completely before removing from the tin.
To serve: Dust with icing sugar or drizzle with a glaze made by combining ½ a cup of icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a smooth, thick, but pourable, icing. Makes 1 loaf