Olive Oil Ricotta Cake with Plums

By Kenzi Wilbur
September 4, 2013
43 Comments


Author Notes: This recipe is adapted from Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

Use perfectly ripe plums when you make this, as they have a way of being honest in this cake -- if they're too firm, you'll notice later. And at the risk of making enemies with Alice Medrich, I will tell you that I've made this without sifting, and no one complained. Sift if you wish, you won't hear from me if you don't.
Kenzi Wilbur

Makes: one 9-inch cake

Ingredients

  • Butter for pan
  • 1 cup fresh, full-fat ricotta
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9-10 small plums, halved, pitted, and set aside
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F, and butter and flour a 9-inch springform.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine and whisk the ricotta, oil, sugar, and zest together. Add one egg, whisk well; add the next, whisk again.
  3. Sift all of the dry ingredients -- save for the confectioner's sugar -- directly over the wet ingredients you just whisked together. Mix with a spoon gently until just combined. (Use more of a folding motion toward the end -- this will help keep the gluten from developing in your batter, which will keep your cake from toughening or becoming too dense.)
  4. Pour the batter into the cake pan, spreading it out evenly as needed. If your plums are very tart, toss them with a tablespoon of sugar or honey, and place them in the top of the cake, cut-side down. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the edges are pulling away from the pan, and a cake tester or toothpick comes out of the cake cleanly. (Depending on your oven, this could take up to 45 minutes.) Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out to finish cooling on a rack.
  5. Dust with confectioner's sugar, and serve slightly warm or at room temperature. This cake wouldn't be opposed to whipped cream or whipped mascarpone, either.

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Reviews (43) Questions (5)

43 Comments

brokensaucer September 6, 2018
This is the only cake I ever make anymore. It is so good and I have a plum tree that blesses me with so many plums every year that I have to make this cake multiple times. No one ever complains.
 
Lauren March 16, 2018
I’m so surprised to hear comments on dryness! This is a go-to cake for me and comes out fantastic every single time. I sub 1/2 cup of almond meal, add a couple tbsp honey, and don’t even add plums. It is so moist it is practically pudding (the almond meal helps give it structure). It never lasts more than a day and if it does, it gets even moister. Love this cake!
 
Ashley M. October 9, 2017
I love a plum recipe. There's a favorite of mine that is a plum, almond, yogurt cake. So good (https://food52.com/recipes/33259-wine-poached-plum-almond-cake). This olive oil-ricotta one was NOT my favorite. Too dry, couldn't taste the ricotta and not nearly enough "plum" throughout (just big blobs on the top). Very pretty but not great taste.
 
Jane H. August 20, 2017
Still cooling down but it smells so amazing. I subbed in blanched almond flour and palm sugar so it came out a bit darker than pic. Can't wait to eat it💜
 
Josephine August 5, 2017
Moist and delicious, and so easy. Santa Rosa plums worked well, and I added about 1/3 cup of blueberries that needed to be used. A hit!
 
kaylu October 24, 2016
The batter was very stiff, which had me worried, but overall the cake was great. It was a tad dry, but I think I should have pulled it out of the oven a couple minutes early. I used a cut up very-ripe persimmon instead of plum and I only wish I had added more!
 
Camilla September 4, 2016
Made the cake and it is delicious, very moist. I added vanilla, a bit of cinnamon a crumble on top just for texture - loved it, thank you
 
Author Comment
Kenzi W. September 4, 2016
So glad to hear this!
 
Kathy January 22, 2016
Good morning. Delighted to find a recipe that allows me to use up both my ricotta cheese and prunes today! (It appears that is possible, based on the conversation.) Thanks.
 
Carolyn V. November 1, 2015
I made this with seckel pears instead, since I missed plum season. It was excellent, although not as colorful as it would have been with plums. I used a 10 inch springform pan with no volume issues and it cooked evenly.
 
Debbie September 14, 2015
This is the second time I'm making this cake in a week...it's so good everyone in the house requests I make another one as soon as the last piece is gone.
 
Numfon W. August 31, 2015
I just finish baking this cake this morning. It was really delicious! I wish I can post a picture of my cake. Many thanks for the recipe.
 
Marian B. April 18, 2015
I am making this sans plums right now, with 1/2 cup cornmeal subbed in for some of the flour! Can't wait to try. Will report back.<br />
 
Adriana January 16, 2015
Has anyone made this with canned plums? I have some I canned this last year and I'm curious if that would work?
 
Carol S. July 14, 2015
Did you try them?
 
misty September 21, 2014
I have made this cake several times because it is easy and reliable. I used figs instead of plums, and baked it in a 10" springform pan, both with excellent results.
 
carmenocal September 13, 2014
Sorry, this: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/3783-original-plum-torte
 
carmenocal September 13, 2014
I believe this is the progenitor of this cake. I made it last week, before it saw this, more interesting and just as easy version.
 
PoloCocone A. September 10, 2014
Really yummy cake!
 
jawoleslodkie August 25, 2014
This one is a wonderful and moist cake but it must stay in the oven for at least 45 minutes, otherwise it wobbles. Thank you for the recepie Kenzi, already on my fav list.
 
Windischgirl August 18, 2014
This was delicious, very moist, and kept well. I used fresh sliced peaches and a sprinkle of cinnamon in place of the plums. The lemon rind was a nice balance and kept the cake from being too sweet. Only thing, I would bake it in a larger pan; a 9-inch springform made a nice cake but it was well-browned on the outside while the inside was still underbaked. I think a 10-inch springform will make for more even baking.
 
ellemmdee October 31, 2013
Plum season is over. What do you think about thinly sliced pears or well drained frozen peaches?
 
Author Comment
Kenzi W. October 31, 2013
I'd try the pears!