The New York Times published this recipe annually for nearly twenty years, in all sorts of variations, in response to overwhelming reader demand, At one point Burros told readers to just cut it out of the paper, laminate it and tape it to the inside of their cupboard!
This recipe originally appeared in 1960 in Marian Burros’ The Elegant But Easy Cookbook, and is now available as The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook.
This is the easiest cake you will ever make. The batter comes together in seconds. The variations are limitless. I have made this with peaches, with apricots, with raspberries, with blueberries, with the original Italian plums, my darling friend who introduced me to this recipe has made it with apples and cranberries. I have pears in my head to try next time. Try it, you will be making this cake over and over again. By the way, it freezes beautifully. Make two freeze one.
There are 2 variations out there. I always make this one, which calls for a tablespoon of baking powder and not a teaspoon.
Makes one 8- or 9-inch single-layer cake; serves 6 to 8
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 scant cup all-purpose flour, spooned lightly into a measuring cup
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 12 Italian plums, halved and pitted
- Sugar, for sprinkling
- Ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
NOTE: I use demerara sugar for an extra crunch.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan.
With an electric mixer at medium-high speed (or in a mixing bowl with a large wooden spoon), beat the butter until light. Beat in the sugar and vanilla until fluffy; beat in the eggs, one at a time.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir just until combined, no longer.
Spoon the batter into a spring form of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, or to taste.
NOTE: Some people put the fruit skin side up, some skin side down – dealer’s choice.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and baked through, about 45 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature, cut into wedges.