Poppy Seeds and Plums are two of my favourite things. Both remind me of my Polish heritage and childhood. Sweet plums are plentiful in Poland and are also in season now here in the UK. If you are lucky enough to have a plum tree in your garden, as we did growing up, you’ll always be on the look out for an extra plum cake recipe to use up your glut.
In Eastern European baking, poppy seeds are typically ground into a paste, with Makowiec being one of Poland’s most well-loved cakes. Makowiec is a very sweet, nutty-flavoured cake, an egg-enriched yeasted dough is rolled with a poppy seed paste filling before being baked and glazed. If you watch The Great British Bake Off, you may have spotted that Brendan used a poppy seed paste, flavoured with orange zest, lemon, raisins, brandy and orange liqueur to give his Chelsea Bunski’s an Eastern European twist. I have also tried a baked cheesecake with poppy seed paste, and there is a sweet noodle dish called Kluski z Makiem, usually served at Christmas.
My recipe combines poppy seeds with plums in an easy tray-bake, although the poppy seeds are left to be sprinkled in whole to add texture, rather than being ground into a paste. I served my tea time treat with a fresh plum compote, which was made by cooking the plums very gently with a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of Polish Plum brandy.
- 8-10 English plums, stones removed
- 225g / one cup caster sugar
- 4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 240ml/ one cup sunflower, vegetable or mild, light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest
- 260g/ two cups self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoon icing sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to dust
- Cream or a warm plum compote to serve
- Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius/Gas Mark 5/375 F. Grease and line a rectangular baking tray with parchment.
- Chop the fresh plums in half and remove the stones.
- Put the caster sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl and whisk together well for 3-4 minutes until a pale and fluffy. Add in the zest and mix again.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold or mix with a metal spoon until all the flour is incorporated. Sprinkle in the poppy seeds and mix again to combine.
- Pour the batter carefully into the tray and gently press the halved plums into the batter.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the tray bake.
- Leave to cool. Dust the cake with icing sugar mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon and serve with cream and/or a warm plum compote.
If you get a chance to make this easy cake, I’m sure it will be quickly devoured, but it will keep in a tin for up to five days.
I’m quite fond of tray-bakes and easy, seasonal bakes, as you may have realised. Here are a few others to try –
What are your favourite seasonal treats?