A dessert that’s part crumble, part cake: Melanie Johnson’s plum and ricotta crumble cake

'Late summer brings sweet and juicy plums,' says Melanie Johnson. 'And, this year, I have a glut.' That sounds like the perfect excuse to make this plum-and-ricotta crumble.

Recipe: Plum and ricotta crumble cake


Serves 6

For the crumble

  • 75g mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • 85g Demerara sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1tspn cinnamon

For the cake

  • 250g ricotta
  • 160g golden caster sugar
  • 160g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1tspn baking powder
  • 50ml milk
  • 4 juicy plums, cut into eighths
  • Icing sugar for dusting
  • Cinnamon or vanilla ice cream to serve

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Plum and ricotta crumble cake


Preheat your oven to 170˚C/340˚F/gas mark 4. Grease and line a round, 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed cake tin.

In a medium-sized bowl, rub together with your fingertips the nuts, sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon until you have a well-blended crumble mixture. Set aside as you prepare the cake.

Tip the ricotta into a sieve and leave to drain.

Cream together in a large bowl the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla-bean paste and mix again. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined. Next, stir in the milk, followed by the drained ricotta. Mix very gently before pouring into the prepared tin.

Arrange the plum wedges in a single layer over the top of the cake and use your fingers to scatter the crumble mixture over them. Allow the mixture to sit loosely on the top; don’t be tempted to squash it down.

Bake the cake for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the outer ring from the tin and allow the cake to cool on the base until it’s easy to handle.

Dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream.