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Fall Weekend or Bust: Easy, Rustic Plum & Almond Cake

Woo! Right. So, like Stella, I’m trying to get my groove back. (Hopefully my blog will be better behaved than her man. *ahem*)  Please do bear with me as I get back in the swing and figure out my snazzy new camera… (though the below image is courtesy my friend Kate, who actually had the presence of mind to bring HER snazzy new camera).

We recently spent a lovely fall weekend out in the country with some friends. And when I say “some” I mean “the friends whose lives rudely interrupted what should have been a lazy weekend of walks, foliage, wine, and games”. Unfortunately, there were enough problems–both dire and not–that the whole Friday evening departure descended into farce and only two of us managed to make the full weekend tucked away in our little cottage, surrounded by trees, goats, chickens, and awakened by the sounds of hunting season–muzzle-loader edition. (Uh, hooray?)

While I think everyone managed to enjoy the time that they had, perhaps the only unmitigated success of the weekend was this lovely rustic almond plum cake. The quick to come together batter is basically the filling to the perennially adored pear-almond tart spread in a pan with some end of season plums–or any soft fruit, really–tossed on top and bunged into the oven.  It’s slightly less unctuous without a pastry case, but forms a lovely golden crust and pops right out of a well-prepared pan. We had it as a decadent breakfast cake, but it’s just as lovely with ice cream for a suitably seasonable dessert. I’ve made it several times since–with pears, grapes, and apples lightly sauteed in butter–and it’s been just the thing each time.

The ground almonds (aka almond flour) can be purchased at GREAT expense (Bob, I’m looking at YOU), which I will admit to doing on occasion when uber pressed for time, but I generally like to toast my almonds and grind them myself. The food processor will get you pretty close. Just be sure to add a little granulated sugar and not go to far with the processing or you’ll end up with almond butter. Boo.

Rustic Plum & Almond Cake
Yield: 6-8 servings

2 large eggs
2/3 c turbinado sugar (or regular)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c finely ground almonds
1/4 c all purpose flour
~ 2 c soft fruit (plums, berries, poached pears, sauteed apples)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8″ round baking tin, line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and extracts. Whisk in ground almonds–making sure that the mixture even even and there are no lumps. Whisk in the flour, mixing only till it is evenly incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and array the fruit on top–though it will likely sink in a bit.

Bake until the exposed batter is evenly golden brown, about 25 minutes (rather longer if your ground almonds live in the freezer, ahem).  Allow to cool in the pan on a rack for 10 min, then run a thin-bladed spatula around the edge and carefully invert cake onto a plate. Reinvert onto the rack to finish cooling. If desired, glaze any exposed fruit with jam that’s been melted and thinned with a bit of water or eau de vie.

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