Plum-Polka Dot Caramel CakeBy Lou Seibert Pappas from Chronicle Books' Coffee Cakes


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 plums or apricots, halved and pitted, or 3 nectarines, pitted and sliced, or 3 peaches or pears, peeled, pitted or cored and sliced Streusel Topping: 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar 2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) slivered or sliced almonds Makes one 10-inch cake; serves 6 to 8

              A spicy cake strewn with toasty almonds and flavored with brown sugar, puffs up between tangy plum or apricot halves for this easy-to-bake breakfast delight. The scalloped sides of a tart pan lend a decorative touch to the cake wedges.   Preheat the oven to 375�F. Butter and flour a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.   In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to blend. Add to the creamed mixture, beating until smooth. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Arrange the fruit on top, cavity side up.   To make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl or a food processor, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter, and nuts.. Cut the butter in with your fingers or process until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter.   Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the
fruit is tender. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges. 

Paula in California

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