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Author Notes: 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
grams (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) all-purpose flour
grams (1/2 cup) barley flour
grams (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon) almond flour
teaspoons baking powder
teaspoon fine sea salt
zest and half the juice of 1 large lemon
grams (3/4 cup) sugar
cup olive oil
cup half-and-half or whole milk
teaspoon almond extract
Italian purple plums, pitted and halved
Crunchy Almond Topping
grams (1/3 cup) sliced almonds
grams (2 tablespoons) sugar
grams (2 tablespoons) butter
- 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!).