Canned black Doris plums are a favourite ingredient of mine to use in desserts in winter time, when I long for stone fruit. They provide the most idyllic balance of acid and sweet and paired with mānuka honey and amaretti cookies in a cake, yum.


For the cake

150g unsalted butter, softened

100g light muscovado, coconut or soft brown sugar

⅓ cup / 50g mānuka honey (softened in the microwave if firm)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 free-range eggs

75g almond flour

125g all-purpose white or spelt flour

2 tsp baking powder

Pinch sea salt

½ cup unsweetened Greek yoghurt

50g crushed amaretti cookies

8 Black Doris plums, fresh or tinned, pits removed and cut in half

For the honey cream cheese icing

100g butter, softened

100g light muscovado, coconut or soft brown sugar

1∕3 cup / 50g mānuka honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

220g cream cheese

For the decorations

Handful of freeze-dried plums

3 amaretti cookies, crushed

Fresh roses, or other edible flowers (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan bake. Line 2 x 22cm cake tins with baking paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla until pale, light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one by one.
  4. Gradually add in the almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined. By hand, fold through the yoghurt, followed by the crushed amaretti cookies.
  5. Evenly divide the batter between the 2 cake tins and spread out to the sides. Dot in the plum halves and press them down lightly into the batter.
  6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. The cakes are ready when golden in colour, springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for around 10 minutes in the pans before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  8. Meanwhile, make the icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter with the sugar, honey and vanilla and beat on high until seriously light and fluffy.
  9. Gradually add the cream cheese. Do not overdo this step.
  10. Once the cakes are completely cool, transfer one layer to your serving plate and ice this layer. Carefully place the other layer on top and ice neatly.
  11. Decorate with some freeze-dried plum pieces, dollops of honey, a scattering of crushed cookies and flowers if using.
  12. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.