This cake, adapted from Rustic Italian by Domenica Marchetti is called the Torta di Prugne e Mandorle or Plum Almond Cake . It's a easy recipe (no stand mixers needed!) that befits the rustic nature of the cake. I could imagine eating a slice, or two at a local trattoria in a local Tuscan village. The cake is full of sweet, nutty, almond flavor with a toothsome, tender crumb, and a burnished crunchy almond top. My family devoured half the cake the very day I baked it.
Although the original recipe says that any plum will do, I strongly recommend Italian prune plums because they'll exude less liquid when baked, and thus make the cake less soggy.
Plum and Almond Cake
(1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
Preheat over to 375° F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper, and then dust with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, barley flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a medium bowl, rub together the 3/4 cup of sugar and lemon zest with your fingers so the lemon flavor really comes out. Add the oil, egg, half-and-half, lemon juice, and almond extract. Whisk to blend thoroughly.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan. Arrange the plum halves, cut side down, on top of the batter.
In a small bowl, combine the sliced almonds, 2 tablespoons sugar, and butter for the crunchy almond topping. Mix well. Dot the almond topping all over the cake.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes and remove the ring from the pan. The cake keeps 5 days, well-wrapped at room temperature (if you can make it last that long!).