I woke up this morning still thinking about a friend, and her sour cherry cake. She is you see,a frightful brainiac, but, by her own admission, almost completely out of her element in the kitchen. My blog, so she told me, had induced her into actually using her "cake frame" - her term of endearment for her cake tin, to make the said cherry cake, yesterday, for tea. Brava bella! So here, inspired by her newly gained kitchen gumption (she did it, in minutes, with a spoon, little else and no directions) is my take on her 3-line recipe, which she kindly shared. The one I've come up with is more detailed and much less intrepid than hers. I can almost see her rolling her eyes at the recipe below; she truly redefines "zen". I've used plums instead as pitting cherries first thing in the day, is just not my thing. This was so good with coffee, at 10.30 in the morning, and a sweet cake for a tardy breakfast is not as alien as you might think. In parts of America, a sweet, more elaborate and usually fruit topped treat called coffeecake or kuchen, for breakfast is quite the norm. But, by all means, enjoy this at afternoon tea, if you prefer. 

Preparation 15 mins          Cook 25 mins          Serves 6-8


150 g (1 1/2 teacups) plain (all-purpose) flour
100 g (2/3 teacup) castor or superfine sugar
1 1/2 level tsp baking soda
80 ml (slightly under 1/2 cup) water, milk or buttermilk (gives best texture)
2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 eggs
6 black plums, stoned and sliced
A generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon (optional)
A generous sprinkle of sugar (optional)


Preheat oven at 180 C. Grease a 23 cm (9 inch) round cake tin.

Combine the flour, sugar and baking soda in a large, dry mixing bowl and whisk together until well mixed.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the water or milk, vanilla, oil and break in the eggs. Stir quickly with a whisk until eggs are no longer visible. Do not overmix. This is very important. It doesn't matter if they are still some bits of flour visible.

Pour batter into cake tin and top with sliced plums. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the plums and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out almost clean and the cake begins pulling away from the tin. Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting.