The plum season is gone since quite a while but I still haven't blogged about the latest result on my quest for the perfect plum cake. There has been the traditional one and the not-so-traditional one - both delicious in their own right but both not quite able to satisfy the expectations of my boyfriend. Usually, he's quite happy with the outcome of my kitchen adventures so I was really curious to know more about the superior plum cake of his mother with the mysterious "brown dough" - and I got her recipe.
It turned out that this dough was pretty similar to the pretty famous Austrian Linzer Torte which is said to be the world's oldest known cake recipe. I had never made it before so I was very intrigued and rushed to the store to get ground hazelnuts. I know, the recipe says almonds but that's where the trouble starts. To get the full taste - and the desired brown colour - the almonds need to be ground with their skin on. Unfortunately, the store-bought almond meal is completely white and I don't have a food processor to make my own. That said, the best option is using a manually operated grinder. There you'll get tiny flaky bits (instead of a uniform floury meal) which will improve the texture of all sorts of baked goods, especially flourless cakes. Anyway, none of those options was open to me so I decided to cheat a bit and used a mixture of 50g of ground hazelnuts and 50g of ground almonds. That way, the dough was decidedly brownish.
However, this story doesn't come with a happy end - simply because I was too impatient. Once the tart started to look done around the edges, I decided that it was fully cooked through even after only half an hour in the oven. When slicing the tart, I realized that I had outsmarted myself: What had looked all right around the edges was completely undercooked in the middle. Luckily, even undercooked, the cake was still tasty albeit not at all crunchy. Now I'll have to wait for the next plum season to get the ultimate plum cake experience... If any one happens to have some plums in the freezer and wants to try this tart, please let me know about the outcome...
Pia's Plum Cake The ingredients
150g butter 100g sugar 2 egg yolks pinch of salt some lemon zest (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) 150g all-purpose flour 100g ground almonds
1 Cream butter with sugar until sugar dissolves. Add egg yolks, salt, and flavouring, mixing carefully after each addition.
2 Add the flour and the ground almonds, while mixing on low speed. Once the dough comes together, shape it into a disc, wrap in plastic foil, and chill in the fridge for an hour (because the dough is quite soft).
3 Press the dough into a buttered 26 centimetres tart form (the dough will still be too soft to roll it out) and cover tightly with plums. If using frozen plums, don't let them defrost or they will get soggy.
4 Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about an hour (and try to be patient - it doesn't matter that the edges of the cakes could get a bit dry and crumbly). Take the cake out of the oven and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
The source Pia's recipe
The hint You can easily double the recipe for a whole tray of plum cake.