Celebrating the autumn equinox – with two seasonal cakes

The early morning sun gives definition to the trees that line the hill and picks out the golden bales in the fields below.  This evening it will set at seven, and for a day we will have day and night in equal measure.

The hay bales, like giant slices of swiss roll, sit plumply; the goodness of summer’s fields packaged up to last the winter. The pull of laying down stores, of bottling and baking, is strong at this time of year.


pear, plum, ginger, blackberry . . .

The recipe for this pear and blackberry cake can be found in the Sept/Oct edition of Landscape Magazine.

English plums encapsulate the colours of autumn, and make a tangy topping for a light ginger sponge.

Plum-topped ginger cake


2 tbsp demerara sugar

500g plums, halved, stones removed

175g butter

175g dark muscovado sugar

140g golden syrup

2 eggs, beaten

200ml milk

300g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice


Heat the oven to 180 degrees / gas 4. Line an 8 inch cake tin with baking parchment, then butter the baking paper generously and sprinkle over the demerara sugar. Arrange the plum halves on the base of the tin cut-sides facing down.

Place the butter, muscovado sugar and syrup in a pan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Set aside to cool for around 10 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

Add the eggs and milk to the butter and sugar in the bowl, and stir well.

Combine the flour, spices and bicarbonate, then add to the wet ingredients and beat gently but well to create a smooth batter.

Pour the mixture over the plums in the tin, and bake for 45-55 minutes, until firm to the touch.


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