Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake {gluten-free}

Before we wind up the season I wanted to re-post this Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake. It’s a simple teatime cake which I first wrote about in 2014 and I definitely wanted to revisit it during this plum season as I remembered it being a beauty.

Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake

This time round I have made the cake gluten-free just by substituting the plain flour with gluten-free flour and adding a little more ground almonds. The cake has not suffered at all during the transition, just as fruity, moist and delicious. I deleted the original post as the photos were not my favourites but I saved the following words for posterity’s sake. To be honest, I could have written this yesterday as just this weekend I was changing my kitchen around yet again.

I have just reorganised my kitchen, not that my husband knows about it. It will be a lovely surprise when he comes home this evening to discover everything is not where it should be. He is a creature of habit so I’m sure there will be lots of heavy sighs as he reaches for a bowl and discovers a kilner jar of sultanas in its place or wants to make a cup of coffee and has to fight past the peanut butter and cocoa powder. I don’t drink coffee you see, so it now goes at the back, I’m thoughtful like that. When the clocks change his life is turned upside down, I can only imagine what the new state of affairs in the kitchen will do to him so I might make myself a bit scarce later on.

Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake

The kitchen turnabout had to come as unfortunately for my crockery, the amount of dried fruit, nuts, different gluten-free flours and the plethora of different types of paprika I harbour has actually pushed them out of the cupboards and relegated them to a lowly position of the shelf underneath our butcher’s block. I cook and bake several times a day so you would think that the food volume in my cupboards would be decreasing, not going up. I blame my self-indulgence. I like to have choice with my dinner, whether it’s to cook my curry with coconut oil, olive oil, walnut oil or ghee or whether I feel like serving it with basmati or jasmine or long grain rice, so I must have all of them on offer. This would be acceptable if I wasn’t living in a matchbox railway cottage wedged into North London, and so unfortunately now the plates are having to suffer.

Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake

The available space in the kitchen hasn’t been helped that it has been swamped these past few weeks with every manner of fresh fruit that summer has brought. My freezer is also fit to burst as I can’t keep up with all the foraging I’m doing around Parkland Walk and Stroud Green, and what I can’t find in the hedgerows the farmers’ market has been tempting me with at the weekends. To cope with the influx I have been making several variations of this cake these past few weeks. I don’t need any excuse to make a cake but every time a new fruit has come into season lately then it has seemed only fitting to herald their arrival by building sheet cakes around them. Cherries, blackberries and now plums have been pampered with this sugary treatment.

It’s a lovely way to make the most of the fresh produce, a wonderful treat which is right at home with a cup of tea for company. The batter includes not only sour cream for its moistness but brown butter, which the French call beurre noisette, literally meaning hazelnut butter. It’s just butter though, taken slightly past the melting point so that the flavour intensifies into a lovely toasty nuttiness. You must keep your eye on it however as it’s a very fine line between brown butter and burnt butter and two very different flavours.

Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake

The juicy plums are halved and popped on top of the batter and then sprinkled with almonds and a dazzle of runny honey. During the bake the fruit will sink into little pockets of jam at the base of this cake but not so much as they compromise the structure. It’s still easy to slice and even easier to eat, or at least it would be if I could remember where I put the plates.

Print Recipe
Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake {gluten-free}
Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake is simple everyday gluten-free tea cake, nutty and moist with delicious pockets of sweet plums.
Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
16 squares
Ingredients
  • 175 g ground almonds
  • 175 g gluten-free plain flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar
  • 150 ml sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 175 g unsalted butter
  • 8 plums halved and stones removed
  • 30 g flaked almonds
  • 2 tablespoons honey I used lavender honey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
16 squares
Ingredients
  • 175 g ground almonds
  • 175 g gluten-free plain flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar
  • 150 ml sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 175 g unsalted butter
  • 8 plums halved and stones removed
  • 30 g flaked almonds
  • 2 tablespoons honey I used lavender honey
Plum Brown Butter Almond Cake
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 10” square baking tin.
  2. Whisk together the ground almonds, gluten-free flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the sugars until fully mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract then place to one side.
  4. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. The butter will melt. Listen carefully and the butter will start hissing and cracking and forming little brown bit at the bottom of the pan. You want to wait until the noises start to subside, the butter smells toasty and is turning a darker colour. Remove from the heat as soon as it’s ready so it doesn’t begin to burn.
  5. Pour the brown butter in a slow and steady stream into the sour cream and egg mixture, whisking in all the while so that it doesn’t start to cook the eggs.
  6. Once all the butter is incorporated, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix in together.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake tin, then arrange the plums on top, cut side up. Drizzle over the honey and scatter the almond flakes over evenly.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the top is lovely and golden.

Bangers and Mash

Nothing beats the warm comfort of a bowl of Bangers and Mash, especially if the potatoes are mashed with lashings of brown butter and apple cider onion gravy is ladled liberally on top then all served with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

This Saturday is bonfire night, although since I have the market stall this weekend and will be baking all Saturday, we are delaying our celebrations until next week and joining my in-laws for the firework display in Ely over the cathedral. It will be Cole’s first bonfire night and I think he is going to love it. Or be scared senseless by the cracking bangs and terrifying shower of fire, forever scarred by the experience which will lead to nightmares and nervous tics, meaning we’ll all be in therapy when he reaches his teens. I’m gunning for the former.

Bonfire Night

It is absolutely obligatory to have sausages on bonfire night, I guess traditionally the sausages were roasted on the fire. I remember being bundled up in winter woollies clutching at my sausage in a bun, enamoured by the glittering hiss of the guy sizzling on the bonfire. Seeing a bonfire at firework displays, especially in London, is a rarity due to health and safety, hopefully Ely won’t let us down. Sausages though are definitely a must, oh and a cup of hot apple cider. We need to keep warm in the frosty November air.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

This recipe is the best of those two traditions. The sausages are simply roasted but the mash is made infinitely more superior by using brown butter which was a tip I garnered from Half Baked Harvest and I’m now going to implement every time I mash a potato. The taste is amazing.

The apple cider gravy is the only part of the meal where you might have to pay a bit of attention if you are not well versed in gravies. Gravy might have been the very first thing I learnt to cook as it was so vital to our Sunday roasts growing up. The consistency of your gravy probably depends on what part of the country you grew up in, the further north you get the thicker it is. I’ve had gravies you can pretty much stand a spoon up in and my Nan was from Liverpool so hers took some beating. I always err on her side for my Bangers and Mash, this is not a time for sophistication. The only advice I would adhere to here is to use proper dripping and meat stock. Although you could substitute with butter and vegetable stock (never a stock cube – please!!) the difference is immeasurable. Sorry veggies and vegans.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

I always have dripping in the fridge, again my Nan was from Liverpool, and we would think nothing of dripping on toast as a teatime snack. I cook a Sunday roast every weekend and after the meal has been done, before the washing up has been started I scoop out all the meat dripping from the roasting tin and store it in a jar in the fridge. Then we (this is usually Luke’s job) place the meat bones, along with some veg and lots of water, in our stock pot so the stock simmers away nicely on the Sunday evening. That way, we always have the makings of gravy on hand for any Bangers and Mash emergencies.

The final piece of the puzzle is the caramelised apples, they take moments so are worth the extra five minutes. They are cooked quickly with butter and sugar to retain a bit of bite then sweetened with a pinch of cinnamon.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths

I can’t wait to share fireworks night with Cole, I have a bank of lovely memories of this time of year and hope he’ll have just as many. Although regardless of the fireworks, I know he’ll go crazy for the Bangers and Mash.

A traditional Bangers and Mash - warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Print Recipe
Bangers and Mash with Apple Cider Onion Gravy and Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 8 sausages from the butcher, gluten-free or non gluten-free
Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
  • 2 granny smith apples sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Brown Buttered Mash
  • 1 kg red potatoes peeled and halved
  • 125 g salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Apple Cider Onion Gravy
  • 20 ml dripping or butter
  • 500 g onions peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour gluten-free or non gluten-free
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 150 ml apple cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
4 people
Ingredients
  • 8 sausages from the butcher, gluten-free or non gluten-free
Caramelised Cinnamon Apples
  • 2 granny smith apples sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
Brown Buttered Mash
  • 1 kg red potatoes peeled and halved
  • 125 g salted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
Apple Cider Onion Gravy
  • 20 ml dripping or butter
  • 500 g onions peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 50 g all purpose flour gluten-free or non gluten-free
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 150 ml apple cider
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Warm and comforting roasted sausages on a mound of brown buttered mashed potato, thickly ladelled with apple cider onion gravy and adorned with sweetly salted caramelised cinnamon granny smiths
Instructions
Sausages
  1. Place the sausages in an oiled roasting tin and then into an oven pre-heated to 170° C. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the sausages are golden and juicy.
Gravy:
  1. Melt the dripping, then add the onion slices and heat on medium until the edges are beginning to catch in the pan.
  2. Pour in the apple cider vinegar and stir well, continue cooking on medium until the onions are turning golden brown.
  3. Stir in the butter until melted then add the flour, mixing well until the flour has absorbed all the fat. Continue cooking for 10 minutes to let the roux take on more colour.
  4. Pour in the stock very slowly, stirring all the time to remove lumps until it is beginning to resemble gravy. Once you’ve added all the stock then pour in the cider in the same way.
  5. Add the bay leaf, thyme and stir in the dijon, bringing the gravy up to a gentle boil. If the gravy is too thick for you, add some more stock or just water to get to your desired consistency.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from the heat.
Mash:
  1. Place the potatoes into salted boiling water and boil for 20 minutes until soft.
  2. Remove the potatoes then pass them through a potato ricer.
  3. In a small saucepan melt the butter until browned, making sure to remove from heat before the nutty brown bits start to burn.
  4. Stir the brown butter into the mash and season well.
Apples:
  1. Melt the butter then add the icing sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and then add the apple slices.
  2. Fry for about 5 minutes until the apples are beginning to colour then remove from heat.