Marian Burros' Plum Torte

By • October 14, 2013 15 Comments

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Serves 8

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10 to 12 Italian prune plums, pitted and halved lengthwise
  • Turbinado sugar and ground cinnamon for sprinkling
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer or handheld beaters, cream the sugar and butter until very light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and the eggs all at once, and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl once or twice.
  4. Spread the batter into an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan. Arrange the plum halves, skin side up, on top of the batter in concentric circles. Sprinkle the batter and fruit lightly with turbinado sugar and cinnamon (I use about 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, but adjust these to your taste).
  5. Bake the torte for 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes, and then release the spring and let it finish cooling just on the base. Once it's cool, serve as soon as possible. Or, you can double-wrap the torte in foil, put it in a sealed plastic bag and freeze (for up to one year!). Note: to serve a torte that has been frozen, defrost it completely and then reheat it for 5 to 10 minutes in a 300-degree oven.

More Great Recipes: Plums|Fruit|Rice & Grains|Breakfast & Brunch|Cakes

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Comments (15) Questions (1)


25 days ago Eliana Bondra

I was wondering which you would recommend more: this cake or the Late Summer Plum Cake that you also tried? I am sure they are both delicious but having tested each, do you have a favorite? Thanks!


4 months ago re-arranging_jars

I've made this twice, once with late summer plums and just last night with early spring rhubarb. Excellent! Perfect with a little vanilla ice cream and you can make it ahead for a dinner party.


11 months ago Franca



12 months ago Lenore Krueckeberg

works well in 8" square disposable aluminum pan


12 months ago Audrey

What a delicious cake. It looks beautiful and is not fussy to make. My spring form pan is too large, so I used a regular cake pan that I lined with foil. Perfect.


about 1 year ago Gretchen @ Backyardnotes

This is a great cake! I found the recipe in 2004 and it has become a staple; a reliable last minute, go-to dessert recipe. It works with ANY juicy fruit; blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums, etc. And you can use frozen fruit as well, no need to thaw the fruit. It is delicious, not too sweet and the fruit is the star. Always gets raves! It holds up well for several days.


about 1 year ago VickyD

The recipe says serve immediately…is this still good the 2nd day or does is dry out? I want to serve it tonight for my husband and I and maybe try to use it for a small dinner party tomorrow too… Thank you!


over 1 year ago Linda

Something is missing here. The original Marian Burros recipe that called for lemon juice was one off the most highly requested New York Times recipes. Search out the recipe. It is fabulous.


over 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Linda, please see my comment below -- this is a later version also written by Marian Burros that was printed in the Times as well.


over 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I've made both versions many times and prefer the one with less sugar, but of course the choice is yours.


almost 2 years ago HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

I've made the Smitten Kitchen's version of this cake twice in the last 2 weeks. It's so easy, simply delicious, even with less than spectacular black plums. It's good the day it's made, but even better when it's had a chance to 'age' overnight, at room temp.


almost 2 years ago isabelita

Not quite the same recipe, but close. You omitted the lemon juice and Turbinado sugar was not used, but ok. I always feel that if a recipe is going to be adapted, it should be exact. Wonder what Ms. Burros would say. I'll stick to hers.


almost 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

This is actually one of her later versions, with a little less sugar than the original and no lemon juice.


over 1 year ago zubzubzubzub

If it's adapted, then by definition it isn't exact, but okay.


almost 2 years ago rlb4

I've been making this ever since the recipe was published. The only wrinkle I introduced is to wrap the bottom of a springform pan with aluminum foil so that the torte can be removed from the pan easily. It can be peeled off when the torte cools, or if you freeze it, after you are ready to defrost it at a later date.