• Nava

Plum crumb cake

My baby brother turned 50, which is something of a milestone and a good time to pay tribute to him. If this is the halfway point to a hundred (and we don’t want to think of you living and less than that) then it’s a good point to look back and consider the journey so far. It’s a pity this is a Facebook post because we really need a novel to do justice to our subject. Like all the Barels you’re larger than life and you’re also a giant collection of talent. To date you’ve not just been the pesky younger brother (you put the r in bother) who had to be helped with his homework, you’re a self-made man who has remade himself over an over, in a dazzling array of forms from musician to music manager, from website designer to marketing guru, from composer to film-maker (loved your work behind the camera on the sensational Nava’s Celebrity Kitchen). And as if all of that were not enough, you decided that Eli Barel the counsellor was needed and you proceeded to bring him into existence with fantastic results.

And that’s just professional you. Then there’s the handsome, kind, funny, smart guy with a huge heart, who was bound to be popular with the girls. You made the most of that until your smartest transformation into the supportive and loving husband you are today – and what better inspiration for such a metamorphosis than the amazing Lauren Barel (who needs a novel of her own if we’re going to do her justice). You’ve also become a cool and caring father whose two boys are your number one fans as well as your pride and joy. Family gatherings are something we Barels adore, and when you are there with your guitar it’s the best time of all. You create magic by simply playing and singing and before you know everyone is singing along and dancing to the songs.

You are a giver and a people’s person, who will stop and chat to complete strangers which inevitably ends up with them telling you their problems and you providing advice. It’s kind of surprising really that it took you this long to figure out you were a natural as a counsellor and to use it to inspire your latest career change.

So many stories come to mind when I think of you, but if I would have to choose one story to sum up Eli Barel, it would be this one:

One of my sons while at work hears two colleagues talking to one another. Colleague A tells colleague B that he needs to see a therapist as he is not doing well. Colleague A tells Colleague B that he must see the guy he has been seeing because he too was in a dark place and his therapist saved his life. When his colleague asked for the name, he said ‘Eli Barel’.

So you are not only smart, funny and kind but now an official life saver! And For your birthday I made you a plum and apple crumble cake because not only because you are down to earth and this cake is an earthy cake but when things crumble or fall around you like the crumble on top of the cake, you like the cake stand tall, solid and strong.

Considering all that you’ve achieved in your first half century, we’re waiting with baited breath to see what wonders will unfold in the next 50 years. Bring it on, I say, the best is yet to come!

Happpy birthday little bro, love you xx

This uber soft and moist cake is packed with fresh apples and plums it’s covered with loads of crunchy sweet crumbs and is simply irresistible. It tastes great and is crazy easy to make. This cake is perfect for breakfast, morning tea, lunch or dessert.

This is hands down the best crumb cake I’ve ever had!

Please note: when making the cake, make the crumb topping first and place in the freezer! You can even make it the night before. Freezing the crumb topping prevents it from sinking into the cake.

Crumb topping


2 cups plain flour

200g cold unsalted butter

20g almond meal

25g vanilla sugar (1 packet)

1/3 cup brown sugar

¼ cup of white sugar



8-10 red plums

2 large granny smith apples

1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar



120g unsalted butter soft

80ml oil

3 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

200mls sour cream

110mls full cream milk

2 cups self raising flour

½ cup almond meal

Crumb topping


Pre heat the oven to 170C

Line a 24cm round cake tin with baking paper

Combine the flour, almond meal, the sugars, in a bowl.

Using a cheese grater, grate the butter and using your hands work the butter into the flour so it resembles big bread crumbs. OR

In a food processor pulse together crumble ingredients until combined well and crumbly.

(I prefer to use my hands)

Place the bowl with the crumble in the freezer and prepare the rest of the cake.



Peel, core and cut the apples into squares. Remove the pip from the plum and cut into squares. Transfer fruit in to a bowl and mix in the cinnamon and brown sugar, set a side.



In a small bowl mix the milk and sour cream together until smooth. I used a small egg beater to mix them together. Set aside.

Place the oil and butter in a small microwave proof bowl and place in the microwave for a few seconds to melt butter into the oil . Transfer into a large mixing bowl and Using a fork mix the two together until smooth and combined, set a side.

Using a handheld or a stand alone electric mixer, Whisk the sugar and eggs for aprox 6-8 minutes then gently fold the egg mixture into the oil and butter.

Then Fold in the dry ingredients and sour cream and milk mixture alternating between the two.


Pour a ¼- 1/3 of the batter in to the prepared cake tin. Drain all liquid from fruit and spoon the fruit evenly on top of batter. Pour remaining batter on top of fruit.

Sprinkle the crumb evenly on top of cake batter and put in the oven to bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven. Set aside for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

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