"When I started delivering produce to Alex, it was a reality check," Don Jones says of his son, chef Alex Jones. "He has very high standards and didn't hesitate to send stuff back. I'm very proud of Alex, and I think he's glad that we can accept criticism from him." For this incredibly moist almond cake, Alex demands the very best just-picked plums, which sink into the batter as they cook. "You can also make it with all kinds of seasonal fruit, like cherries or apricots," he says.
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1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup almond paste (9 ounces)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean—split lengthwise, seeds scraped, pod reserved for another
3 large plums (12 ounces)—halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
Crème fraîche for serving
Slivered almonds for serving
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. In a small bowl, mix the cake flour with the baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the sugar with the almond paste until crumbly. Add the butter and beat at high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract and vanilla seeds. Gently fold in the flour mixture until fully incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the plums over the top of the batter. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until the cake is deeply golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the outside ring of the pan. Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature topped with crème fraîche and slivered almonds.
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