This cake could very well be made with cherries instead of plums. In fact, you could use grapes, figs, peaches, blackberries, apricots or nectarines. Maybe even some soft ripe pears or apples, with the addition of some warming spices. Seemingly any fruit would indeed lend itself incredibly well to this unreasonably tasty almond cake.
As a disclaimer, I must tell you that I did not dream up this almond cake recipe myself. I first found it years ago on a website that sadly no longer exists, so unfortunately I don’t know to whom the credit is due. All I know is I’ve been making it for years with slight tweaks and it’s always a hit. The original recipe was in US cups and had no mention of whole toasted almonds or lemon zest. It called for grapes, almond extract, and a dusting of powdered sugar on top, but I make it without the extra sugar or almond extract (and have tried it with cherries and plums too) and, no matter how you make it, it inevitably turns out to be really, really good.
how to make the almond cake
makes a ~22cm (8.5″) cake, enough for 12 or so slices
225g unsalted butter, room temperature (+more for greasing the tin)
225g white sugar (+ more for greasing the tin)
3 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
110g whole almonds
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine salt
enough fruit to cover the surface of the cake — here, that’s about 5 plums
notes: you could use lightly salted butter here (if so, omit the addition of salt) and swap out the whole almonds for pre-ground ones if you like (if so, skip steps 1, 3 and 5).
1. Preheat oven to 165°C/325°F. Spread almonds out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes.
2. Grease a round 23cm (9″) springform tin with butter and sprinkle with sugar. This’ll not only keep your cake from sticking to the pan, but the sugar will also give the edges a sweet and crisp oomph compared to using flour.
3. Remove the almonds from the oven and put aside to cool. Set the oven to 175°C/350°F.
4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating the mixture thoroughly in between each addition. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and stir through to combine.
5. Using a food processor, pulse the toasted almonds until they form a coarse meal. Cut plums in half, removing the stones, and cut each half again into four (each plum should yield about 8 wedges).
6. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Whisk until homogeneous.
7. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ones in three separate additions, until just combined.
8. Smooth batter into prepared cake tin and distribute the fruit evenly over the top, pressing each piece into the batter slightly.
9. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle (avoiding the fruit) comes out clean.
10. Let cool before removing the tin sides and enjoy! Keeps at room temperature for 4 days.
Quite possibly delicious with vanilla ice cream, or simply cold cream, but most definitely incredible on its own. Best of all: its portability makes it an excellent gift for a nearby friend.