When it comes to bread, it’s feast or famine at my house. We’ve either run out – just when I’m most craving buttered toast – or I make too much, forget about it, and find a stale boulder the next time I look in the bread bin. I hate food waste, but the options for stale bread are rather limited. So I’m forever indebted to the reader who inspired this week’s recipe. They suggested using breadcrumbs in a cake and the result is both thrifty and delicious.
Breadcrumb plum cake
A blender with the blade attachment is the easiest way to turn stale bread into crumbs. If you don’t have one, a rolling pin, canvas bag and the mental image of a boss you don’t like also works well.
Prep 10 min
Soak 1 hr
Cook 45 min
For the cake
100g stale bread, crushed into crumbs
175g unsalted butter, softened
140g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
75g ground almonds
25g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
For the plum topping
100ml red wine
75g caster sugar
Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin. Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/375F/gas 5.
Quarter and stone the plums, then cut each quarter in half again to make eight crescents per plum. Put the plum segments into a pan with the wine and sugar, and simmer gently for six minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the plum segments to soak for one hour.
To make the breadcrumbs, blitz the stale bread in a blender (or put it in a canvas bag and bash with a rolling pin). Cream the butter and sugar until pale and airy, then stir through the eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs, almonds, flour and baking powder. Pour the batter into the cake tin, even it out with the back of a spoon, then arrange the poached plum slices over the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top of the cake is toasted brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean of batter. If it still seems a little wet, bake for another five minutes before checking again. While the cake bakes, bring the plum syrup to a boil and cook for a few minutes, until thickened. Brush this over the warm cake once it has finished baking.
• This article was amended 20 October 2020 to correct the baking time to 30-35 minutes, from 20 minutes as an earlier version said.
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