Almond and Orange Cake with Poached Plum Compote
I suck at baking. There, I said it. But I do have some killer go-to desserts, in case I need to pull one out for a holiday meal or potluck when I get assigned the dessert course. I first came across this dish while traveling with my father in the mid-1970s in Spain, where we saw this cake on almost every dessert table we came across. Over the years, I was always trolling for a recipe like this and finally found one in an old Penelope Casas cookbook. I promptly started playing with it and tweaking it and adjusting it, and I eventually got it to where it was workable for a dessert hack like me.
Sometimes I don't serve it with the plums. Instead, I reduce some fresh-squeezed orange juice by half, whisk in some sugar and lemon juice and prick the cooled cake all over with a toothpick, then I pour the syrup over the cake, slowly so it is absorbed, and serve. It's amazing. But first, please try this very moist almond cake. The poached plums are insane with this dish and make good use of the conventional plums in the market right now. I serve this dish with plenty of sweetened creme fraiche passed at the table.--Andrew Zimmern
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