Original Plum Torte (from the New York Times) made Gluten-Free

September  5, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I enjoy reading Melissa Clark's column in the New York Times each Wednesday. She 's witty, inventive, curious and she knows her way around a recipe. I mention her because it was just about this time last September when she wrote about a much beloved plum cake recipe made popular by Marian Burros back in the 1980's. It jumped out at me and I realized that I hadn't had that cake in more years than I could remember.

So now it's one year later and I've finally gotten around making the infamous New York Times Original Plum Torte with gluten-free flours. This past week when I started seeing piles of the small Italian "prune" plums specified in the original version (and when my power came back on after Hurricane Irene), Clark's column roared back into my mind. I bought a big basket of ripe plums at a local green market and set to work.

I used my brown rice flour mix, a small amount of xanthan gum, and a 1/4 teaspoon extra baking powder to get it rise well. I also added some vanilla extract to hide the lack of wheat and hopefully, make it even more delicious. The recipe converted so beautifully you might have thought it was always gluten-free. —Annalise Roberts

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown rice flour mix (see below)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 24 halves pitted Italian "prune" plums (or small purple plums)
  • Cinnamon sugar for topping (see cooks note below)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Position rack in lower third of oven. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in large bowl of electric mixer. Add the brown rice flour mix, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, eggs and vanilla extract and beat well, about 2 minutes at medium speed.
  3. Spoon the batter into prepared springform pan. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon sugar.
  4. Bake about 55 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean from the center. Remove and cool on rack. Serve room temperature or chilled. Store torte covered tightly with plastic wrap in refrigerator.
  5. Cooks note: To make Cinnamon sugar combine 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  6. Cooks Note: To make the Brown Rice Flour mix: (Makes 3 cups) 2 cups extra finely ground brown rice flour (Authentic Foods works best or King Arthur brands second work best) 2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour) 1/3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

2 Reviews

Sal July 19, 2021
This omits the lemon juice (sprinkled on top with the cinnamon sugar mix) from the original recipe which adds an important note to the cake. Without the lemon, the cake is still good, just not great.
susan G. September 8, 2011
I"m adding this to the "gluten free desserts that work" pile. Thanks for doing the work!