Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sponge Plum Cake--Almond Flavored

Plum cakes are among my favorite fall cake desserts. They remind me of my childhood and the cakes I was eating this time of the year in Poland. So I wanted to share a plum cake recipe, which requires Italian, or as we call them in Poland, Hungarian plums. Unfortunately, they have not yet showed up in our area food stores this season. So instead I had to make this cake with whichever plums were available and I could only imagine how much better it would taste with the proper Italian plums, which are perfect for cakes and preserves.

It is not a typical plum cake which I make most often, meaning obviously a tart, but I was curious to try this new recipe which seemed interesting from the combination of plums, almond sponge cake, and sugar crumbs on top.

The cake turned out almost perfect. "Almost" because plums were a bit too hard and not as mushy and moist as the Italian plums become when baked. Nevertheless, it was still a very nice fall dessert which I will make again when I get the true Italian plums.

Sponge Plum Cake
(For a 9 by 12-inch baking form)

2 lb of Italian plums, cut in half, stones removed,
2 sticks of butter, plus an extra tbsp. to grease the baking form,
1 and 1/3 cup sugar,
5 eggs,
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour,
2 tsp baking powder,
1 and 1/2 cup ground almonds (almond flour),
4 tbsp preferably almond liqueur as Amaretto, or any liqueur or rum,
1/2 cup sparkling water.

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. To make sugar crumbs, place one stick of butter, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup flour in a medium bowl and, working with fingers, make sugar crumbles. Put them in a refrigerator while preparing the rest of the cake.
3. Place one stick of butter and a cup of sugar in a bowl of a standing mixer and run the engine until the ingredients combine into smooth batter. Add one after one eggs while beating the batter in between.
4. Add liqueur and beat gain the batter.
5. Sift flour and baking powder into the batter. Mix again all the ingredients.
6. Finally pour in ground almonds and sparkling water. Mix the batter for the last time.
7. Grease the baking form with butter and sprinkle with flour, preferably Wondra. Spread the batter on the form and arrange plum halves (or quarters if plums are bigger) on top.

8. Sprinkle plums with sugar crumbs.

9. Put the cake in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes until cake become brownish and sugar crumbs become slightly gold.
10. Let it cool and serve.