When I wrote about my time in Italy learning organic farming, I was asked repeatedly to post recipes from my time there. So here I go, I learnt to make this cake from Suzanne, another volunteer like me. During our time there, our farm hosted an organic dinner and movie night for some of the locals in Palombara Sabina. We served four simple courses - antipasti that included fresh ricotta with arugula and grilled zucchini, legume soup with rosemary crostini, a mixed greens salad and this olive oil sponge cake topped with juicy golden plums and bottomless pitchers of the farm's delicious organic red wine. We screened the Paul Newman and Robert Redford film The Sting but in Italian so La Stangata and by the end of it, every single slice of the cake was demolished. Make this once and you'll know why.

You can top the sponge with any fruit or ice it any way you like. The trees at the farm were heaving with sweet plums so Suzanne used them and made a syrup using sugar, vanilla beans, sweet white wine and lemon. She generously drizzled the syrup on top and halfway through and topped the cake with fresh plum slices.


5 eggs
150g sugar
3.5 tbsp olive oil
150g flour
A pinch of salt


Using an electric beater, whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy, about three minutes.
Add sugar slowly and whisk for five-six minutes until you can draw an eight in it.
Whisk in olive oil in a gentle steady stream until mixed in.
Sift the flour with a pinch of salt in and fold it into the mixture gently until no streaks remain.
Pour into pans and bake in a preheated over at 180 degrees celsius for 25-30 minutes. 
Cool before turning it out onto a wire rack.