Every year, around the end of August, I will get a basketful of Italian prune plum from a dear friend. This year would be the last time I get the tree-ripened plums because she won't have access to the tree anymore. A little sad, yes, because these plums are the best. I love their firm texture and sweet flavor. I'm saving the rest of the plums that didn't make to the cake in the freezer.
This plum cake is very simple to make but it tastes superb. The plums turned soft when baked but retained its shaped well. I don't eat dried prune at all unless it's in a cake but the fresh ones, I will hoard them. When I bite into a slice, I'm hit with tender crumb surrounding the plums; but the best part was the edges. They're perfectly crunchy!
I baked this in an 9-inch pan so it was on a thinner side but it didn't affect its appearance. I enjoy baking a cake like this when it's uncomplicated, can be done in a few hours--just in time of after dinner dessert, and tasty to boot. This cake has become one of my favorite recipes to bake again and again.
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
10 to 12 Italian prune plums, pitted and halved lengthwise
Turbinado sugar and ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer or handheld beaters, cream the sugar and butter until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
Add the dry ingredients and the eggs all at once and the almond extract, if using, and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
Spread the batter into an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan. Arrange the plum halves, skin side up, on top of the batter in concentric circles. Sprinkle the batter and fruit lightly with turbinado sugar and cinnamon.
Bake the torte for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes, and then release the spring and let it finish cooling just on the base. Once it's cool, serve as soon as possible. Or, you can double-wrap the torte in foil, put it in a sealed plastic bag and freeze (for up to one year).
Note: to serve a torte that has been frozen, defrost it completely and then reheat it for 5 to 10 minutes in a 300 degrees F oven.
Source: adapted from Food52