It's Easter now and to tell you the truth? I am dreading it. And talk to anybody in hospitality, I can guarantee their feelings will run the same vein. It's busy, it's horrible and it goes for four days. Four days! And then there are school holidays. And everybody else is relaxing where-ever their beach house may be. Hospitality is not an easy job, mentally or physically- and I say this not for the first time. But we do it. Because we love people? Maybe a little. Because we love coffee? Probably more so. Because we love exploring the world and this isn't conducive to a nine-to-five job that is yours forever? Definitely that. So we put up with the Easters and the Christmases because we know that the subsequent six month backpacking trip (and the killer barista skills) are worth it, in the end. Rude customers and stupidly ignorable requests (can I have a chocolate milkshake with chocoate ice-cream and skim milk please- HAHAHAHAHA!) aside.
So yay, Easter! Haha. Not really. But yay, this cake! This cake won't tell you that its coffee isn't hot enough or that there are too many peas in its paella. This cake won't berate you for taking too long, or get cranky when you tell it that the kitchen is actually closed because you have been open since seven am and it is now six pm and contrary to popular belief hospitality staff aren't robots and need sleep also. This cake won't make you want to punch it in its smug, relaxed face while you are simultaneously sweating and stressed beyond human belief and trying to be pleasant and friendly and make a decent cup of coffee at the same time.
So make this cake! Plums are in the fruit shops. And it tastes really, really, really good. I promise. It looks like it belongs in a French Patisserie. It will soothe the wounds of hospitality at Easter time with its juicy plums and comfortingly sweet cake-iness. It's awesome.
Go forth and bake, my fellow cafe battalions! (Am I bitter about my chosen work? Maybe a little, but only on this weekend.)
I love my job really- otherwise I wouldn't still be doing it after 8 years. But sometimes, like all of us, I need a swell slice of cake and a good whinge. Thanks for listening, now go eat cake!
the most fantastic, best ever, also easiest plum cake (from Smitten Kitchen and a bazillion other places)
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup (plus 1-2 tbsp) granulated sugar
115g butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temp
12 smalle purple Italian plums (or 5-6 larger plums), halved and pitted
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Heat oven to 180c.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat eggs and one cup of sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl when necessary. Once incorporated, add the dry ingredients.
Lightly grease a 22cm springform cake tin and scoop the batter in. Smooth the top and lay the plums over- skin side up and so they cover the top of the cake... some gaps are A-OK.
Sprinkle with lemon juice, then cinnamon and then the remaining sugar- use as much as the plums aren't sweet. This will give you fantastically crunchy cake shell.
Bake until a skewer inserted in the cake- not the plum- comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Leave to cool and then EAT EAT EAT. Or if you are not of the piglet variety of human, this cake is perhaps even better on the day after baking when all the delicious plum juices have sunk into the cake and made it some sort of moist plum heaven (?). But seriously. 'Tis that. Enjoy!