Fine-crumbed and fragrant with orange zest, these shortcakes are baked in individual muffin tins and work with almost any fruit. Roasting the plums intensifies their flavor. I buy black plums whenever I can: they’re the sweetest and juiciest.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the muffin tin
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (sift after measuring)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 1/ 4 cups cake fl our, plus more for the muffin tin
1/ 3 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1/ 4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/ 2 teaspoon baking powder
1/ 3 cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 pounds ripe but firm black, red, or purple plums, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/ 2-inch wedges
1 1/ 2 cups packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons crème de cassis
1 pint vanilla gelato or ice cream or 1/ 2 pint heavy cream, whipped, for serving
1. For the shortcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the middle. Butter and fl our a 12-cup muffin tin or use paper liners. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder. In a cup, stir together the orange juice and the vanilla. On low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the orange juice mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just until the batter is smooth.
3. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about three-quarters full. Bake until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pan on a rack.
4. For the plums: Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, toss the plums with the brown sugar and the crème de cassis until the sugar begins to dissolve and the plum slices are evenly coated.
5. Spread the slices evenly in the dish and roast until the plums are very tender but still hold their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool while you begin to assemble the dessert.
6. Cut each shortcake in half horizontally and set the bottom halves on small dessert plates. With a slotted spoon, transfer about 2 tablespoons of the warm plum slices to the shortcake and spoon over a little of the juice from the baking dish. Cover with the shortcake tops and place a scoop of gelato or ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on each shortcake and serve.