At last week's farmers market, Camas Swale Farm had these gorgeous purple plums, a welcome sight because I've been baking a lot of plum tortes from this New York Times classic recipe by Marian Burros.
The recipe starts with a standard cake batter of creamed butter and sugar. Then you pile on plum halves, sprinkle with a bit of sugar and an hour later you have the most perfectly moist cake infused with fragrant plum juices. You can serve it as a dessert or an afternoon teacake and with just a little bit of rationalization, as breakfast fare because of all the fruit. Be prepared to start baking your second one as soon as you cut into the first.
Marian Burros’s Plum Torte¾ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
24 halves pitted purple plums
Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon for topping
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well. (I also added a teaspoon of vanilla extract at this point.)
3. Spoon the batter into a spring form of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with (about) 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon. (I just used a teaspoon of raw sugar and no lemon juice or cinnamon).
4. Bake one hour, approximately, until the top is brown and a fork come out of the cake clean. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream.
5. To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.