You can mix this plum-topped version of the financier, a buttery French almond cake, in a few minutes with a bowl and a spoon.
Leave it to the French to come up with a confection that’s so elegantly simple. Financiers are basically just a mixture of almonds, butter, sugar and egg whites, baked in individual rectangular pans. But the plain little cakes are sold in fancy pastry shops right next to eclairs and petit fours.
Although their traditional shape is small and bite-sized, the same batter makes a nice cake baked into a tart pan, with the addition of fresh fruit. I scooped up some Italian prune plums before they disappeared until next year and baked this cake with them, but other soft juicy fruits like peaches or fresh figs would be delicious too.
Hmm, and maybe even prunes would be good. Note to self to give that a try!
If you’re in the mood for a homemade dessert, you can make this plum cake without a mixer and multiple bowls to clean.
Almond meal (also known as almond flour) made from blanched almonds will make a cake without the little flecks of almond skin. I like the rustic texture and look of the almonds, so I used unblanched almond meal. The cake is wonderful served warm, plain or with ice cream, and also at room temperature, where it keeps for a day or two.
almond plum cake
Yield one 8-inch cake
You can make your own almond meal for this recipe by grinding 2 ounces of almonds (blanched or not) with 2 tablespoons of the powdered sugar called for in the recipe.
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 teaspoon
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 egg whites, whisked lightly
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 or 5 ripe Italian prune plums, pitted and halved or quartered
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and postiion rack in the center. Lightly coat the sides of an 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray or neutral oil.
- Sift both flours, confectioners' sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and salt together using a mesh strainer set over a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the melted butter, egg whites and both extracts until smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tart pan. Arrange the sliced plums around the top. Sprinkle the remaining teaspoon sugar over the fruit.
- Bake 18 - 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center come out clean and the edges of the cake are golden brown.
- Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then separate the base from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.