Plums, Almonds and Maple Syrup Cake

When I bought some early season plums at the store, I was a bit disappointed with their flavor. As cooking, or baking, intensifies the flavor of unripe fruit, my solution was to use them in a cake. The fact that fruit cakes are my favorite, only added to the motivation.
This time I decided to top the cake with the fruit, but also to add some of it to the batter itself. To make things even more interesting, I spiced the cut fruit with a hefty amount of cinnamon, and flavored it with maple syrup, which compensated a bit for their somewhat bland flavor. I also added some almond meal to the batter, which gave the cake a nice crumbly texture, and scattered slivered almonds on top, for some crispy texture and nutty flavor.
The cake came out very tasty, moist and fragrant, with a nice balance of mild sweetness and a bit of acidity from the fruit. Baked in a fairly large pan, and cut into small portions, it is perfect for serving as part of a dessert buffet, or as a snack, with coffee or tea, any time of the day. Try it and enjoy.

* Honey, or date syrup, can be used instead of the maple syrup.

Makes: 20
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 40 minutes

10 medium plums
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 stick (115 grams) butter, soft
2 L eggs
¾ cup sour cream
1¾ cups flour
¼ cup fine almond flour
1 Tbs baking powder
¼ tsp salt
For topping:
1/3 cup slivered almonds
2-3 Tbs maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a 12”x8” (20.5 cm x 30 cm) baking pan with baking paper.
2. With a sharp knife, remove 2 large pieces from each side of the pit of each plum, then cut them in two. Cut the remaining fruit into small cubes. Place in a bowl, add the cinnamon and maple syrup and mix well. Set aside, at room temperature, while you make the batter.

3. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add the eggs and sour cream and whisk again. Add the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to a fairly thick batter.

4. Separate the small  and large plum pieces, and add the small cubes, with the liquids, to the batter. Mix with a spatula and transfer into the pan.

5. Level the top with a spatula and arrange the larger plum pieces on top, pushing them partially into the batter. Scatter the slivered almonds on top and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs on it.

6. Take out of the oven and drizzle the remaining maple syrup on top, while the cake is still hot. Transfer to a rack, to cool to room temperature, before cutting.

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