Late Summer Plum Cake

August 13, 2010

Watch A&M bake JSCooks' Late Summer Plum Cake and discuss technique, discriminating squirrels, and Marian Burros.

This week's videos were once again shot and edited by talented filmmaker Elena Parker.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Rhonda35
  • KathrynN
  • Victoria Carr
    Victoria Carr
  • AppleAnnie
  • Sagegreen
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Rhonda35 September 10, 2010
Hi Gals! I did a Google search and found this explanation for "Bob's your uncle":

It's a catch phrase dating back to 1887, when British Prime Minister Robert Cecil (a.k.a. Lord Salisbury) decided to appoint a certain Arthur Balfour to the prestigious and sensitive post of Chief Secretary for Ireland. Not lost on the British public was the fact that Lord Salisbury just happened to be better known to Arthur Balfour as "Uncle Bob." In the resulting furor over what was seen as an act of blatant nepotism, "Bob's your uncle" became a popular sarcastic comment applied to any situation where the outcome was preordained by favoritism. As the scandal faded in public memory, the phrase lost its edge and became just a synonym for "no problem."

Sounds possible, anyway. Cake looks great - can't wait to try it - as always, enjoyed the video - this one is especially fun. Who is the person in the background - sitting at the dining table?
KathrynN August 31, 2010
I am still smiling from your video . . . A couple weeks ago I had for the first time run across the New York Times' Plum Torte recipe (news from New York takes a bit of time to travel to my home state of Michigan and now where I live in Florida). I have actually made the torte twice already since my husband was also a big fan. I will definitely try this one next. Thanks so much for sharing and entertaining us.
Victoria C. August 15, 2010
I have made the Marian Burros Original Plum Torte for years. Two weeks ago, I used the apricots I got from Union Square as a substitute for plums in that recipe, and it was delicious. I imagine apricots would be good in this recipe too. But since prune plums have made an early appearance, I will make it with plums first. And then In the fall when the apricots and plums have both flown the coop, I am going to try the adaptation suggested by Antonia James and use delicious New York State apples.
JSCooks August 16, 2010
Those both sound wonderful. I think I may try it with figs next! I will be at the Union Square FM on Sat. Oct. 9 (12:30-2:30pm) doing a recipe demo with my book. If you come by please be sure to stop and say hello!
TheWimpyVegetarian August 16, 2010
Figs sound wonderful in this!! I usually go to the Ferry Bldg FM when in the City, but might try out the Union Square one.
JSCooks August 17, 2010
Suzanne -- that's Union Square in NY I was talking about! I did a demo of Goat Yogurt Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries recently at the Ferry Plaza FM -- I had a great tiem!
AppleAnnie August 13, 2010
Here is the full title of JSCooks' latest book: Farmers' Market Desserts: Gorgeous Fruit Recipes from First Prize Peach Pie to Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes. It was published in April 2010. The contents and index can be viewed on (As a librarian, I love tracking down books!)
Treehouse August 15, 2010
I would trust any collection of recipes written by Jennie Schacht. This latest - Farmers' Market
Desserts is a winner!
JSCooks August 16, 2010
Thank you so much, AppleAnnie and Treehouse! I had such a wonderful time writing the book, and I have been delighted to know people are using and enjoying it. And most gratifying of all is knowing that people are shopping for the recipes at their local farmers' market!!
Sagegreen August 13, 2010
What a fun video and great cake recipe. Wish we could vote for both! Would love to hear more about JSCooks book, too.
JSCooks August 16, 2010
Sagegreen -- you can learn more about the book by "liking" it on Facebook, or check it out on Or better yet, ask your local bookseller if they have it in stock! It's been distributed very widely, including lots of gift stores as well as book stores. I just saw it in Anthropolgie. Come visit us at for more info.
JSCooks August 13, 2010
Thank you so much for your fabulous video! The cake was inspired by a recipe I found on the website of Autumn Hills Orchard in Groton, Mass, while researching my book, Farmers' Market Desserts. I tracked that recipe back to Marian Burros' Plum Torte and its illustrious history of annual reprints in the NY Times. By the time I'd increased the flour, decreased the sugar, added the lemon verbena and eliminated the cinnamon, added sour cream and adjusted the baking soda, and layered the plums into the cake, I decided I'd gone so far afield that Ms. Burros' mightn't have wished her name associated with my cake. But indeed, that torte helped pave the way to this cake!
AntoniaJames August 13, 2010
What's ironic about all this is that when I first saw the Burros recipe (must have been in the early 80's, because I was in law school), I immediately thought that it was just like the Torta di Mele (apple cake) that I learned to make when I was a student living with a family in Italy. The only difference other than the fruit is that Burros used (I think) a bit more sugar than I remember in the torta di mele. Interestingly, my Italian host mother actually put two layers down, too, and sprinkled a bit of sugar carefully just on the apple pieces. I bet this plum cake is fabulous. I have some sour cream in the fridge, which has been waiting patiently all week for the right recipe. Can't wait to make this! ;o)
Merrill S. August 15, 2010
We love hearing about inspiration and adaptation -- so glad you shared the evolution of your recipe. And funnily enough, I went to school in Groton, Mass!