Cornmeal-Olive Oil Cake with Honey Roasted Plums and Almond Praline
makes one 8” fluted cake (I use a fluted tart pan with removable bottom measuring 8” x 2”)
(adapted from L. De’ Medici and D. Mele)
1 cup stone ground cornmeal (plus additional 1-2 tablespoons for dusting the cake pan)
⅓ cup coarse cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 large eggs, room temperature
zest from one small lemon and one small orange
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup olive oil + 2 tablespoons for tart pan (California Olive Ranch brand, widely available)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease your tart pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and dust with cornmeal, knocking out the excess. Place the tart pan on a parchment lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the stone ground and coarse cornmeal, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder. Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until frothy. Rub the lemon and orange zest into the sugar with your fingers. Gradually add the sugar to the eggs then increase speed to high, beating until the mixture becomes light, about 5 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil; add the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, gently scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Add the lemon and orange juice being careful not to over mix the batter.
Pour the batter into the tart pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden, springs back gently when touched and tests clean with a small knife. Place on a cooling rack while you prepare the plums. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
For the Honey Roasted Plums-
(from Katie Quinn Davies)
8-10 Casselman (also known as Santa Rosa) plums, rinsed, halved and pits removed
1-2 tablespoons honey
Place the plums with the cut-sides up, on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the honey and bake for 20-30 minutes until softened. Set aside.
For the Almond Praline-
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons water
⅔ cup sugar
Line a small baking pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil. Place the toasted almonds on top of the foil.
Place the water and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil without stirring, carefully swirling the water and sugar occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sugar syrup turns golden. Put on a sensible oven mitt (don’t use a kitchen towel- hot sugar syrup burns!) Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the hot sugar syrup over the toasted almonds. Set aside to cool. Transfer the praline to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until coarsely ground.
Serve the cake with the roasted plums, the almond praline, and either softly whipped cream or mascarpone with honey. Wrap any leftovers in plastic wrap; the cake keeps at room temperature for several days. Wrap and refrigerate any leftover plums. The praline can be stored in an airtight container.
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