Adapted from The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook by Marian Burros
This is the famous recipe that according to legend was published in The New York Times every year until the food editor published it with a warning that if you wanted it, you’d better save it because it would not be published again. I think this recipe is a real treasure and subject to all different kinds of variations. You are only limited by your taste and imagination.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup plus 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
24 halves pitted Italian (prune) plums*
1 teaspoon cinnamon or more, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter with ¾ cup of sugar. Add the flour, baking powder, eggs, and salt to the butter/sugar mixture, and beat to mix well.
Spoon the batter into an ungreased 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Spread it to the edges with the spoon. It is thick, and you don't have to get it perfectly smooth.
Cover the top with the plums, skin sides down. Mix the cinnamon with the remaining 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar and sprinkle over the top.
Bake on a rack in the lower third of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, and let cool.
This is fine plain but really shines when served with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream or thick plain yogurt or crème fraiche .
*Can use other plums – 6 will usually do - halved, skin side down.