FRUIT TORTE/PLUM SKILLET CAKE
From The Elegant But Easy Cookbook by Marian Fox Burros and Lois Levine
(The original recipe was titled “Fruit Torte” and was baked in a 9” springform pan.
Baked in an 8” cast iron skillet results in a pudgier, taller cake. I’ve swapped out the traditional Italian prune plums for a mix of purple plums, and replaced the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat and some finely ground almonds. The ladies Burros/Levine preferred a full cup of sugar in their recipe; I think ½ cup of sugar is sweet enough. I prefer cardamom to cinnamon, but feel free to make the cake your own.)
Cake fills an 8” cast iron skillet
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup finely ground almonds
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz. plums, rinsed, halved, pits removed, each half sliced in eighths
½ teaspoon cardamom combined with 1 tablespoon sugar
generous squeeze of lemon juice (1 or 2 teaspoons, depending on the sweetness of the plums)
In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and ground almonds. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl. (I like to use a large mixing bowl and a hand-held electric mixer.) Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the lemon zest, almond and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour/almond mixture, beating until well combined.
In a medium bowl, place the plums slices and toss with the cardamom/sugar mixture and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Scrape the batter into a lightly buttered/floured 8” cast iron skillet. Cover the batter with the sugared plum slices; the original recipe asks you to place the plums skin side up on top of the batter. As the torte bakes, the batter snuggles up around the fruit. I like to fan the plum slices over the batter; this boasts a little more plum on top. Either way, the cake bakes up beautifully.
Place the skillet on the middle rack of the pre-heated 350 degree F oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake tests clean with a skewer or small paring knife. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream, or yogurt with a drizzle of honey. Wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic wrap. The cake lasts for up to 3 days at room temperature.
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