Italian prune plums are still in season here and this rustic, lightly spiced plum cake is one of my favorite ways to use them. The plums soften as they bake into the cake and the balance of almond, warming spices, and fruit create a comforting autumn dessert. I think the cake tastes best the day after you make it, although the original recipe suggests eating it warm or at room temperature. We especially enjoy it for breakfast. Use a melon baller if you have trouble extracting the pit from the plums. I adapted this recipe from Domenica Marchetti’s book Rustic Italian.
Italian Plum Almond Cake
1/4 c. sliced almonds
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. dairy-free margarine or butter, diced
Combine nuts with sugar in a bowl. Add margarine or butter and mix together. Set aside to sprinkle on cake once it is assembled.
1 c. flour
1/2 c. almond flour or almond meal
2 tsp. baking powder (1-3/4 tsp. for high altitude)
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c. canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 c. almond milk or whole milk
zest and juice from half a large orange
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond emulsion or extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
9 Italian prune plums, halved and pitted
powdered sugar for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or oil a 12 x 6 pan, then line with parchment. You can also use a greased and floured 9-inch cake or springform pan. (Any pan will work that holds roughly 4 cups batter.) Mix the almond topping and set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and spices. Mix, then set aside while you combine the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl combine oil, egg, milk, orange juice and zest, sugar, and extracts. Mix well, then gently whisk into the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Arrange plums, cut side up, on top of batter. Sprinkle almond topping over the plums. Bake for 40-45 minutes until top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack to continue cooling. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Serves 6-8.