I served this delicious cake to my parents for dessert when they came over for dinner, and everyone loved it. I got the recipe from the newspaper a long time ago, and found it when I was sorting out old recipes. It’s so good I regret not making it earlier.
500 grams (1.1 lbs) ripe plums
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
juice and zest of 1 orange
For the dough
150 grams (11 Tbsp) butter at room temperature
150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar
85 grams (1/2 cup) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
100 grams (2/3 cup) almonds
pinch of salt
For the topping
30 grams (2 Tbsp) butter
50 grams (1/2 cup) shaved almonds
25 grams (2 Tbsp) sugar
Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.
Rinse and dry the plums. Pit them by cutting around each plum with a sharp knife.
You can now easily separate the halves. One will have the pit that you should be able to remove easily with your fingers. If it’s stuck, your plums were not ripe! (Plums continue to ripen after they have been picked, so it pays off to wait if needed.)
Put the plums in an oven dish. Add grated orange zest. (Make sure to zest the orange before juicing it, since that is much easier.)
Squeeze the juice out of the orange.
Add the juice to the plums.
Half the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with a knife and add to the juice. Also add the bean itself.
Bake the plums in the oven for 20 minutes. Toast the almonds at the same time.
Take out the almonds as soon as they are golden, after 10 minutes or so.
Let the almonds cool slightly and put them in the food processor.
Process until fine but not powder.
Add butter, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
Process until homogeneous.
Take the plums out of the oven after 20 minutes and remove the vanilla bean.
Butter a 24 cm (9″) springform pan and spread out the cake batter.
Arrange the plums in a single layer.
Tilt the dish and whisk to distribute the vanilla seeds evenly in the orange juice.
Add the orange juice to the pan as well.
Bake for 30 minutes at 175C/350F.
Meanwhile, melt the butter for the topping in a small saucepan.
Add shaved almonds and sugar and stir until mixed.
Lower the oven temperature to 160C/290F. Spread out the shaved almonds on top of the cake.
Bake for another 20 minutes until golden.
Let the cake cool to room temperture before serving.
The taste of almonds, plums and oranges pairs well with a moscato passito from southern Italy, such as this wonderful one from Cantine Viola in Calabria. The wine needs to be complex with a good balance between sweetness and tartness.