You may have heard of this plum torte.  It was, due to excessive demand, the most reprinted recipe in the New York Times throughout the 1980s, when the editors finally retired it. But that’s not why I decided to make it. No, I made it because I had plums for days and wanted to make something easy. This just happens to be easy, a great use of those late summer plums, delicious, AND famous. It is the perfect storm of recipes! It comes together in a flash, then bakes for about 45 minutes, so it’s perfect for a last-minute dinner party dessert.

Here’s what you need:


  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1 t vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 8-10 plums, halved
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 t cinnamon

-Recipe very slightly modified from Marian Burros’ original

 You’ll notice I also have pluots up there. It seems that my abundance of plums was not quite enough for the original recipe, which called for 12. I ended up only using 8, so maybe eyeball your pan before hacking into all your fruit. Mine were also slightly frozen, so they didn’t cut super nicely. The good news? This recipe does not care!!  It will still look amazing.


Lightly mangled fruit

Preheat your oven to 350 and try to find your spring-form pan. Where did you put it?? Why can you only find the ring, and not the bottom? Ask your child. Find bottom of pan in toy bin. Proceed.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Mix to combine, then dump into your pan and spread it evenly. Lick spoon. IT IS SO GOOD!!


Is that not gorgeous?? And it tastes as good as it looks.

Now place the plums on the batter evenly, round purple bottoms up.


Go ahead, take a picture. Instagram that shiznit.

So here is where I did not use the lemon– you either sprinkle the top with sugar and cinnamon or a few squeezes of lemon juice and cinnamon depending on the sweetness of your plums. Mine were super tart, so I used the sugar/cinnamon and skipped the lemon juice.

Slip it into the oven, forget about it for about 40 minutes. It’s done when it is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mine took about 45 minutes. Unhinge the spring-form wrap when the cake has cooled slightly.


Devour. We chose ice cream, but whipped cream would be a great topper, as well.


Gorgeous, tasty, and easy as… plum torte.


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