Sunday Magazine Recipe: Chocolate, Plum and Macadamia Cake

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My boyfriend's parents have an incredibly plentiful heirloom plum tree in their Auckland garden, which I always raid at this time of year. They are beautifully tart, red-fleshed plums which pair perfectly with dark chocolate and rich macadamias in this simple but impressive cake. 

Chocolate, Plum and Macadamia Cake

Serves 12

150g butter, softened
150g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 organic eggs
100g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
100g ground almonds
½ cup milk
100g 70 per cent dark chocolate buttons
70g roasted, roughly chopped macadamia nuts
6 ripe plums, ideally dark-fleshed ones, halved and pitted 

Ganache
200ml cream
200g dark chocolate buttons (70 per cent cocoa solids)

Top with
Handful roasted, roughly chopped macadamia nuts
Freeze-dried plum slices (we used Fresh As brand)

Preheat the oven to 180C fan bake. Line 2 x 22cm tins with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, and mix in the ground almonds along with the milk. Stop your electric mixer once all the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix.

By hand, stir through the chocolate buttons and chopped macadamias.

Evenly divide the batter between the 2 tins and dot the plum halves in (6 halves per tin), pressing them down lightly with a spoon.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, make the ganache. Heat the cream in a saucepan until small bubbles start to appear on the surface. Take off the heat and drop in the chocolate. Stir until it is melted; the ganache should be thick, smooth and glossy. Chill the ganache for 15 minutes to allow it to set a little.

Once the cakes are completely cool, spread a layer of ganache onto one of the layers and place the second layer directly on top. Apply a final coating of ganache to the top of the cake. Decorate it with the chopped macadamias and freeze-dried plums, if using.

Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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RecipesJordan Rondel