Cake of the Month ~ Plum Traybake

Let's revive the Cake of the Month post shall we? 

What better way is there to celebrate beautiful seasonal fruit than to eat it naked* and unadorned?

The answer is, of course, to take a picture of it and then add sugar, butter, flour and eggs and bake it. Cake is always the answer.

For this easy traybake I consulted Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book and took her basic all-in-one traybake recipe as a model and added ground almonds and juicy locally grown purple plums. I'm afraid I forgot to check what variety they are but they look like Marjorie's Seedling. If you are wondering what a traybake is I think it's what would be called a sheet cake in North America.

Plum Traybake

Grease and baseline a rectangular cake tin about 9" by 12"

In a large bowl beat thoroughly
8 oz (225g) soft butter
8 oz (225g) caster sugar
7 oz (200g) self-raising flour
3 oz (85g) ground almonds (or 3 oz of self-raising flour)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
4 eggs
4 tablespoons of milk
half a teaspoon of almond extract (optional)

Scrape the batter into the tin and level the surface.

Halve and remove the stones of 9 -12 plums
Slice them or chop them into small chunks or leave halved -as you wish. I sliced mine.
Scatter them over the cake batter.

Bake at 180°c (160°fan oven) for 35-40 minutes

The cake will rise to cover the plums and they will end up on the bottom of the cake resulting in a delicious squidgy pudding cake to eat warm with cream or custard.

A note about almond flavours
I  seem to come across a lot of  people who say they don't like almonds and therefore don't want to eat cakes with ground almonds (almond meal) in them. Far be it from me to tell people what they do or don't like, I do wonder if they are confusing the flavour of sweet almonds with that of bitter almonds. 

Bitter almond is extracted from the kernel of the nut and is the predominant flavour of marzipan and is what you get in those little bottles of almond extract. It is often added to pastries and cakes which also have ground almonds in. I love it. Sweet almond is simply the nut, mild and milky and unlikely to upset anyone.

*In this instance the fruit is naked, not me -that's just when I clean the bathroom.



  1. Oh what an excellent looking traybake recipe. Our plums will soon be ripe enough to pick and it's great to have a recipe that I can use. I'm one of those people who doesn't like the taste of marzipan but like almond nuts or ground almonds. I often wondered why - though never investigated any further! So thanks for clearing that up - I now know why I dislike one and not the other.

  2. Yes, cake is always the answer! Yum. x

  3. Seriously considering putting Cake is Always the Answer on a t-shirt...

  4. I didn't realize the distinction, thank you for explaining that. My kids are so attuned to the bitter almond that they know from marzipan (they share a Christmas pig treat) that they refer to it every time they have anything almond-flavored. It always smells or tastes "like the Christmas pig!" I often use half almond extract and half vanilla when a recipe calls for vanilla. I think it tastes better than vanilla alone.

  5. I love Mary Berrys traybakes and anything baked with fruit is popular in this house. Will definitely make this one myself! xxx

  6. In North America, it's called a sheet cake only if it's an iced sponge cake, baked in a shallow, rectangular pan. If it's any kind of what you would call a traybake, we would call it squares. (Eg. I almost always bake squares now, instead of cookies, because it's faster and easier.)

    1. Thanks Kari, plum squares they are then!

  7. Delish, I love plums. Only had one on my tree this year though. And I really like using ground almonds, especially because one of the children never seems to eat much protein. I like to sneak it in where I can.

  8. Looks wonderful, Sue! I love the idea of the plums changing places during the baking too and ending up underneath the batter they sat on top of to begin with! By the way I loved your "not camping" posts too - tried to comment but my iPad kept eating my attempts! Seems ok today though hopefully! Glad you are resurrecting your cake of the month posts - you are so right, cake is always the answer! Have a lovely weekend! E x

  9. Hi Sue, I somehow discovered your blog and have been enjoying it! Tried some of your recipes as I struggle with the never ending 'what will we have for dinner tonight' drama! And I LOVE everything British so I'm also enjoying the talk, the pictures, all of it. Thank you! I'm trying your lemon curd recipe this weekend and I'll definitely do that plum cake. We just call it a cake here in Australia! Best wishes!

    1. Thank you Mary-Jill, well it is just a cake, and if you don't mind me saying so, how very sensible and Australian of you to call it what it is!

    2. But a VERY yummy one at that! I actually meant we don't have too many names to describe, I guess, how cakes are made - ie tray bake etc. We do call something baked in a similar tray a 'slice' but it tends not to be cake, but more dense, and not so high, eg, a caramel slice, if you know that one? And I agree about the bathroom thing - I used to clean my bathroom & shower in the nuddy when my children were small and in the bath, so I could keep an eye on them and they played whilst I cleaned! Only worked for a few years though!!

  10. Anonymous11:52 am BST

    I adore Mary Berry's recipes - they're so refreshingly simple and no frills, inviting you to make them your own. Our family plum traybake is the other way round, with the plums on top; I add cinnamon and you're right, no plum cake is complete without almonds!

  11. Your cake looks lovely and a great way to use up some of our plum harvest.

  12. p.s. Hooray for your comment on almond meal - I too think it's wonderful stuff.

  13. I've never heard of a tray bake cake Sue, but I'm damn glad I have. That looks like the kind of texture I like a cake to be. The nearest recipe I have to this is called Irish apple cake, and you chop the butter to add, as well as the apples. Yummy as dessert or cold.

  14. Your cake looks delicious, I wish I had someone to share it with.

    Regarding bitter almonds, I was told that they are from the wild Almond tree and the sweet ones, from the domesticated tree. After eating bitter almonds, they turn to cyanide in the digestive system. Best avoided I feel.


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