From Julie Van Rosendaal
This torte – really just a simple butter cake – was so popular in the nineties, it ran in the New York Times every September from ’83 to ’89. In its final run, the recipe was printed with a dotted line frame “to encourage clipping.” This version is adapted slightly – the original has the eggs added along with the dry ingredients and calls for 24 plum halves, which I find is a bit too much for the pan to accommodate. I use about 5 large plums, cut into quarters, or 8 small ones, halved. Press them cut side down into the batter, and let them slump down into it as the cake bakes. This cake is delicious eaten out of hand with coffee, or warm with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
5-8 plums, pitted and cut into wedges (or halves, if they’re small)
turbinado or granulated sugar and lemon juice, for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the eggs, and then the flour, baking powder and salt, beating on low or stirring just until combined.
Spoon the batter into a buttered 9-inch cake pan or pie plate, smoothing the top, and arrange the plum slices skin side up in concentric circles (or whatever works). Press the fruit lightly into the batter. Sprinkle with sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice, if you like. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden; the fruit should be soft and juicy, the cake springy to the touch. Serves 8.