Prune Plum and Rhubarb Cornbread Torte

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My first recipe post, y’all! My mom requested that all recipe posts have the recipe at the top. Sorry, Mom, I wanted to, but I see why no one does that because it’s just not attractive. I got you a ‘Jump to Recipe’ button though!

For my first recipe I was thinking I’d do something like my granola or tortilla soup. Recipes that I believe can make your life better. They save you money, improve your health, and just generally make life richer. Those are coming, but I found something a little more unique for my first go at this.

I’m also just paralyzingly afraid of putting a recipe out there. This one I actually shot back in August (it’s almost November for those future readers). I’ve been sitting on it so long the fruit isn’t even close to in season anymore. This somehow helps me hit publish because at least no one will attempt it for another nine months at least.

I made this torte years ago and the picture popped up in my digital memories. I remember being so proud of seriously modifying and combining recipes into exactly what I wanted. The picture also came out gorgeous and I fell in love with using my old kitchen window sill as a backdrop for baked goods. Because I made this before and for once wrote down what I did, I figured it would be a good one to test out again and record the process.

This time around for photos I used my cutting board (one of my children along with my bikes, our car, cat, and actual child) and a sneaky natural lighting trick I divulge some day. I am NOT a food photographer, not yet, so bear with me here.

Like most recipe blog posts you’ve got your standard picture of each step and the full recipe below that. I love that we can easily share these steps nowadays, helping to answer, “Is this what is it supposed to look like?” If you don’t need the images, skip along. There is nothing you need to know that isn’t in the official recipe.

If you make this recipe or have questions, pretty please speak up! I’d be ever so grateful for your constructive criticism. Or just regular criticism and I’ll figure out the rest!

Prune plum season gets celebrated in my dad’s family. The Czech side of my family (which is most of them) uses them in desserts and if we were lucky, my grandma or great-grandma would make plum dumplings served with a buttery, sweet, poppy seed syrup. They are fantastic, but the chef usually gets annoyed with how labor intensive they are combined with how quickly they’re woofed down.

Because prune plum season lasts one to two weeks a year in late August or early September, when you see them you grab them. In Midwest grocery stores anyway. A lot of times this means stocking up without having the time to actually make the dumplings. Having suffered the extreme guilt of wasting these fast spoiling beauties a couple times, I had to find new ways to use them in less time.

This torte is my own take on the recipe. Traditionally it’s a very sweet dense cake topped with fruit. I wanted something a little heartier, more rustic, and made me feel a little more comfortable eating it for breakfast. I subbed out some flour for cornmeal and upped the fruit amount, adding rhubarb to compliment the plums. This works well with pretty much any fruit though, especially stone fruits and berries. I’ve made it with blueberries in the mix with great success and probably would have again if I had them on hand.

I am by no means a real food blogger, recipe writer, or photographer, but you have to start somewhere. Here goes.

Step By Step

Heat oven to 350° F, moving rack to lower third (typically rung two or three). Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 10″ spring form pan, tapping to remove excess flour. Note: I’m sure this would work in a well greased and floured cake pan. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

Once I get a good collection of recipes I promise to upgrade to something that will include weights, the best and really easiest way to measure.

Get yourself a shirtless toddler to do your mixing.

Cream together butter and sugars with eggs and vanilla.

Mix dry and wet ingredients.

I had to give my homemade vanilla some time in the spotlight. I made 100 bottles for wedding favors five years ago. We had 60 guests. This was the last one of the original batch. Vanilla prices have skyrocketed since, so I’m refilling the bottles and getting a second run from the beans.

Prune plums should be cut into eighths or quarters. Rhubarb chopped. One and a half cups of fruit is the most it can hold. These measuring cups aren’t that accurate, but woo they’re pretty!

Fruit gets tossed with sugar and spices.

Into the pan it goes and topped with more sugar. Raw aka turbinado if you’ve got it. A bag of this is really handy and seems to last forever in my kitchen. It’s also fun to put out for guests’ coffee and makes me feel fancy.

Just in case you had your heart on a different angle.

Bake until golden brown and it passes the toothpick test. Let cool ten minutes in the pan before removing. A spatula can help loosen any stuck sides.

Get your toddler on dishes duty.

This is my favorite for breakfast, brunch, or a light dessert.

Most baked treats get complimented with ice cream or whipped cream or whatever dairy. This torte, however, I think is best alone. It’s moist and sweet, but hearty.

This would also make a unique dinner accompaniment.

There she goes! Good luck out there, my torte!

Prune Plum and Rhubarb Cornbread Torte

Late summer fruits top a cornbread like cake. Acts like coffee cake in the morning and dessert at night.
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 8
Author: Amy Workman

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp sugar divided
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 eggs room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5-8 prune plums pitted and cut in eighths roughly ¾ cup
  • 1/2 cup rhubarb chopped
  • 1/3 cup blueberries (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar (optional)

Instructions

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat oven to 350° F, moving rack to lower third (typically rung two or three).
  • Butter and flour the bottom and sides of a 10" spring form pan, tapping to remove excess flour.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer, cream ¾ cup sugar, brown sugar, and butter. Add each egg one at a time, mixing completely between each addition. Add vanilla.
  • Using a wooden spoon, mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined. Do not over-mix.
  • For fruit topping: In a medium bowl combine 1 Tbsp sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon. Stir in all fruit, turning to coat.
  • Scrape batter into pan, it will be thick. Use spatula to spread somewhat evenly into pan. Using clean fingers, evenly distribute fruit mixture onto top. Sprinkle top with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and top is golden brown.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.
    Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature in an air tight container or plastic wrap for one to two days, or freeze individual slices.

Notes

What I love about this recipe is that it’s adaptable and actually pretty forgiving. Fruits can be substituted (berries, peaches, plums, rhubarb, and cherries are all great) and spices can be tweaked (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, all spice, ginger, and nutmeg can come and go). If you’re comfortable, adjust the flour and cornmeal as well. More flour = more cake-like. More cornmeal = more dense. Any way you make it, it’s a gorgeous table piece for a crowd, easy to transport to a potluck, or just a treat for yourself.

2 Replies to “Prune Plum and Rhubarb Cornbread Torte”

  1. That looks delicious! If I didn’t have peanut butter cookies to make tonight, I’d probably be giving this a try 🙂

    1. I one hundred percent support peanut butter cookies. Mmm.

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