purple plum torte

This may look like an ordinary piece of plum cake, but it is not. It is a famous plum cake, so renowned that I suspect half of you out there have already made it, and the rest of you will soon commit it to memory, because this cake is like that — it is worthwhile enough to become your late September/early October staple. First published in the New York Times by Marian Burros in 1983, the recipe had been given to her by Lois Levine, her co-author on the excellent Elegant but Easy), the recipe was published every year during plum season between then and 1995, when the editor of the food section told readers they were cutting them off, and it was time to cut it out, laminate it and put it on the refrigerator door because they were on their own if they lost it. As if anyone would dare.

purple plum torte-01
purple plum torte-02
purple plum torte-03

Amanda Hesser, who compiled and tested 1,400 recipes dating back to the 1850s, when the New York Times began covering food, the James Beard award-winning 2010 Essential New York Times Cookbook, said that when she asked readers for recipe suggestions to include the in book, she received no less than 247 for this one, and suspects that is because it’s a nearly perfect recipe. There are only eight ingredients, seven of which you probably have around and, if you took my hint earlier this week that “buttery plums” were coming later this week, you might even have the eighth. There are only four brief, simple steps, and the batter seems so simple (“like pancake batter,” says Hesser) that you might have understandable doubts about the greatness of this cake.

purple plum torte-05
purple plum torte-08

They shouldn’t last. Two magical things happen when a massive heap of purple Italian plums are added and the cake is thickly coated with cinnamon and sugar, the first is that the cake rises up around them and buckles them in, leaving the cake riddled with deep pockets of jammy plum puddles that impart a sweet-sour complexity to an otherwise simple butter cake base. The second magical thing that will happen, if you take my advice, is to always start eating this cake on the second day. Although it will be hard to resist (deep pockets of plum puddles and all that, believe me, I know), what’s true of most cakes with fresh fruit — that in the oven, the fruit softens and bakes, but upon resting, the sweet juices seep out and become one with the cake around it, making it so incredibly moist, decadent and almost custard-like around the fruit pebbles that you won’t regret waiting — is triply true here, when there’s just so much fruit for so little cake.

purple plum torte-11
purple plum torte-12

One year ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Two years ago: Pear, Cranberry and Gingersnap Crumble
Three years ago: Mushroom Lasagna
Four years ago: Quiche Lorraine
Five years ago: Bread Without A Timetable, Black and White Cookies, Balsamic Glazed Sweet and Sour Cippoline
Six years ago: Spaghetti with Chorizo and Almonds and Couscous and Feta-Stuffed Peppers
Seven years ago: Summer Squash Soup, Giardinera and Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake

Purple Plum Torte

Marian Burros’s plum torte is a cult classic in which a mass of plums are coated with cinnamon sugar and baked into a pancake-like batter, where they melt into pie-like pockets and you definitely don’t want to miss it. It’s the perfect September baked good. This is ideal with blueish/purple Italian prune plums, but if you can’t find them, other plums will do. The internet is full of riffs on the cake, like cutting the sugar back to 3/4 cup (feel free to, although I didn’t find the 1 cup too sweet at all), with or without lemon juice, ranges of cinnamon (1 teaspoon is the original amount; 1 tablespoon was a typo that’s not bad at all, but I usually use the smaller amount). I’m not immune, either: I sometimes start by browning the butter and letting it cool to room temp before whisking the batter together by hand. In 2023, I’ve made a few minor updates: Sharing how I one-bowl the cake,and bumping up the salt (previously: a large pinch).

  • 1 cup (200 grams) plus 1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (use less for sweeter plums)
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder (ideally aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 smallish purple Italian purple plums, halved and pitted
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform [I have this one] with butter or nonstick spray. For even easier removal, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat butter and 1 cup (200 grams) of the sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and lighter in color. Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt over batter and mix it until just combined.

Spoon batter into prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plum tightly in the pan, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it. Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake comes out free of batter (but of course not plum juice), about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on rack.

Once cool, if you can stand it, and I highly recommend trying, leave it at room temperature overnight as this cake is even better on the second day, when those plum juices further release into the cake around it, becoming not just “cake with plum,” but cakeplumughyum (official terminology, there). If planning more than 2 to 3 days out, I’ll store the cake in the fridge for longevity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

735 comments on purple plum torte

  1. Yesss, the magical butter plum cake! My mom gave me the recipe, and it has become my go-to dessert for last minute company. It’s good with other stone fruits too, and pears. Yours looks like it puffs up a little more than mine does, though, so I am going to make it this weekend (oh, poor us), this time looking at your recipe and following all the steps really precisely.

  2. LOVE the train rain ensemble. Just made this cake for the 47th time last week; I’d forgotten how simple a recipe it is. Brought it to a new mom (along with some lasagnas to freeze). I’d made that cake in a square disposable pan, and for that size pan, slicing the plums seemed to be the way to go. This freezes and defrosts like a dream.

  3. JP

    Can’t wait to try this…Cook’s Illustrated has a recipe that uses this sort of plum…I always have a bit of trouble finding them, but I know they are the best thing around. Thank you for another winner!

  4. Yum! I rediscovered my love of plums after finding this variety at the farmers markets in Chicago. They’re so easy to pit and chop (I just learned plums have clingstone and freestone varieties like peaches), and the way they cook down in this cake to make your sweet and sour jammy plum puddles also makes them amazing in jam and chutney too (speaking of, have you seen the plum chutney pie recipe floating around lately? I made a version, it smells like the holidays exploded in a good way.)

    1. Susanne Strater

      Yes that works. Amazingly, you really don’t have to grease the pan either. First time I tried it (I was skeptical) I put a circle of parchment paper in the bottom, but that is completely unnecessary.

    1. deb

      Jeanne — No, it doesn’t get tough or anything. It’s super soft and you won’t notice it (or I didn’t, at least).

      Brittany — Good questions and I was wondering the same. I think it would be fine but make sure it has at least 2-inch sides and just to be safe, put a foil-lined tray underneath. I don’t think this is tall enough to “runneth over” but no reason to find out the hard way if it does.

  5. Leila

    I get to bake again this weekend! I really want to make this….and it looks like the french clafoutis and tastes just as good too. :)

  6. Patrice

    Hi Deb! This looks beautiful and so tasty. Where did you find Italian Purple Plums in New York? Would love to make this torte this weekend.

    1. deb

      Purple plums — I bought them at the Union Square Greenmarket. I actually made this over a month ago, with hopes to post it while I was in the UK (hahahaha, ugh), but I saw plums still there this week so I know they’re around. You might find them at Whole Foods or the like too.

      1. George

        My torte or cake comes out raw using a 10 in springform. Left it in for another 15 min and then still another. No problem with other food or recipes

  7. Ted

    One of my go-to recipes this time of year. It’s simple and delicious. I’ve shared it with lots of people and they really like it. Thanks for giving the wonderful recipe greater exposure; it deserves it. (Also great earlier in the year with blueberries and some peaches, and later in the year with pears and some orange zest in the batter.) Have you yet tackled a yeast-raised streuselkuchen? (hint, hint)

  8. Deb


    I have been making this cake for years and loved that Amanda Hesser included it in the NYT Cookbook.

    It freezes really well. When plums are in season, I make several so we have them during the winter months.

    1. Tom

      This is a gorgeous recipe! We had an insane crop of plums from our garden this year, so I ended up making three of these tortes.

      In each case, though, the plums completely sank and were engulfed by the batter, so I didn’t get the gorgeous look of the plum crevices on top of the torte. I wondered if anyone had a suggestion as to why? I tried to follow the recipe as closely as I could, but I wonder if I used too much baking powder and the mixture over-rose?

      Suggestions gratefully received. (I still have some plums left!)

      1. Cheryl

        Hi Tom,
        I’ve made this countless times and the same thing happens to me. Followed the recipe exactly each time. I’m thinking maybe if we use a larger spring-form pan, maybe 10-inch instead of the 8.5-inch (22 cm) I’m using? In her original recipe, Marion Burros suggested 8, 9, or 10-inch; perhaps that would spread out the batter more and leave the plums more exposed…my cake also looks higher than any of the pics here.

  9. Elly

    Deb, thank you for your fruit+simple cake=cakeplumughyum recipes. Your Mom’s Apple Cake (for big crowds) and Strawberry Summer Cake (which converted my strawberry-averse husband) are two of my go-to cakes. I’ve thought this comment many times before, so perhaps I’ve posted it, but perhaps not. Either way, thanks again! I’m looking forward to adding this torte to my list.

  10. Michelle VT

    I made about 50 of these last year when my Italian Prune tree was literally dripping with fruit. I wrapped and froze them. They were even better after being in the freezer for 6 months. One of my all-time favorites! It was so great to be able to pull them out and have them for short notice company.

  11. Beth

    This looks amazing – and reminds me a little of Blueberry Boy Bait – buttery rich cake, sugar, cinnamon, juicy fresh fruit. Super excited to try this one out! :)

  12. I have a soft spot in my heart for plum desserts because the first time I ever made a dessert from scratch, it was a plum crumble to use up a hefty crop of plums that I bought. I adore the look of this torte, and I would love to whip one up with the plums that I have right now. It looks as though I have a favorite fruit around this time of the year!

  13. Wow That is lot of testing.After all those trails this is has to be a great recipe. I prefer to eat denser fruit cakes over night in the fridge because it seams to make them resemble a English pudding more than cake. Also it means the slicing is lot easier!
    Lovely recipe deb.

  14. Jennifer McGuire

    My mom used to make this for me for my birthday cake every year, at my specific request. What a fantastic memory – thanks for posting!

  15. Spalva

    I just moved to Alsace, where these plums are known as quetsch. I have a twice-weekly famers market exactly five doors down from my flat where I have been loading up on two kilos of quetsch every three and a half days.

    The other day I stewed them with a cinnamon stick, lemon peel, lemon juice and sliced ginger. Slop it on top of petit suisses, yogurt, vanilla ice cream…

    I have six jars of the stuff and wa

    1. Samantha

      Well I am just devastated. It was my understanding that this was a secret family recipe of ours and to find out that it’s a fan favorite and very well known recipe is hilarious and shocking and amazing and I will never ever tell anyone where to find it.

  16. This looks amazing, but I was wondering flavor-wise how it compared to the plum kuchen. I made that a number of years ago, and it took longer to make than to eat it was so delicious!

  17. Linda

    I love cooked plums. My mom is from Slovenia and made plum dumplings for me when I was a child and I just never got over that glorious combination of dough, plums, sugar and butter. I’m going to get some plums at the farmers market tomorrow morning and make this in the evening so the kiddos won’t see it and devour it until the second day. I’m guessing it will be fabulous with a dollop of fresh whipped cream (what fruit dessert isn’t?)

    1. thatgirl

      Goodness! Just saw your comment and laughed because I just came into a half bushel of Italian plums, and Mom and I were just reminiscing about her mother who made plum dumplings in the same way as yours; grandma was from Lithuania, however. I can smell them in my head!

      Sadly, Mom’s forgotten the dumpling dough recipe, so I’m off to try to piece it together again!

      1. JNovaB

        I’ve never heard of plum dumplings but I’ve got a plum tree with a massive offering of fruit and would love to attempt them. Did you have any luck piecing together your mother’s recipe? If so, would you mind sharing with a plum-dumpling virgin?

  18. Daria

    I’ve been given this recipe several times and keep forgetting to try it, but I think this post and my apple tree covered in fruit mean that today’s the day! Thanks for that extra poke I needed – can’t wait! :)

  19. Marilou Hyson

    Such a blast from the past! I’ve been making this for 50 years, out of the original Elegant But Easy cookbook–but always with blueberries or a blueberry-peach combo. Agree about letting it sit for a day to soak up all those juices, but the smell and taste are almost impossible to resist. Plums, here I come.

  20. Susan

    These simple cakes that you feature once in a while have become my very favorite weekday treat because they’re good at any time of the day. I have this apple dessert/coffee cake recipe that uses a cake mix as the base that I’ve been trying to replace with a scratch cake recipe. I think this batter might be it. Double thanks for featuring this little gem!

  21. Tanya

    This cake is amazing. I haven’t made it in years, but used to make it constantly. It was my go-to potluck or dinner party contribution. So easy and SO good. It’s equally amazing with apricots and also really good with pears, which might be easier to find this time of year. I omit the cinnamon, but often add vanilla or almond extract. I need to make this again soon! Thanks for the reminder. (It’s also pretty amazing left over for breakfast, all that fruit makes it appropriate, right?)

  22. Laura

    Deb, do you know approximately how many pounds of plums this would need? The plums I have on hand (the only ones at my market) are the President variety, which are fairly large. Or maybe I could just see how many would fit in the pan. I can’t imagine using too many plums! Thanks.

  23. Karyn

    You mention an apple variation, but would you just slice the apples and put them on top instead of the plums? I’m thinking I might need to look for plums this weekend, but since I have two. large. bags. full of apples right now (had to pick my trees since the raccoons were eating the dropped ones…), it would be nice to use some of those instead.

    Anyways, this looks amazing, as always.

  24. Hi Deb!

    This looks fabulous! I’m such a sucker for quick fruit pies/breads/cakes like this one. These pictures are so absolutely gorgeous that this recipe will find its way to the top of my recipe queue. Thanks for the inspiration!!


  25. Julie G.

    First, I know I can’t be the only one who plays “where’s Jacob” with your posts before actually reading them. I must scan for the word I think Jacob will be “hiding” behind and once I’ve had my hearty helping of cuteness I can move on to the recipe!

    Second, I have been wanting to make my mom an extra special birthday cake next week that also speaks to the season. This is perfect and such a welcome change of pace from the usual.

  26. Meanders

    My mom clipped and saved this from the NYT in 1989. She gave me Amanda Hesser’s NYT cookbook for Christmas the year it came out, with this recipe marked with a bookmark. It is a classic!! I’ve made it with raspberries, which is pretty good, but plums are the best. One could play with it and add any fruit, even a medley, and it would be good. Also works for breakfast (while singing Bill Cosby’s “Dad is great, gives us chocolate cake…”)

  27. Bonnie

    I adore my copy of Elegant But Easy that my mother-in-law gave me. Many winning dishes in there and a great resource for retro party.

  28. Kristi

    My five year old would love a plum cake at Christmastime because he is smitten with the book Plum Pudding for Christmas. I realize that you probably haven’t tried any methods of preserving this cake or the plums in it for two months, but do you think that I could successfully make this cake with plums that I had halved and then frozen, or that I could make the whole cake and and then freeze it until December? Would you guess it would be worth it or would the cake be ruined? Thank you!

  29. Yes! I have absolutely made this cake before, after getting the recipe AGES ago from a now-defunct blog called, I think, What We Ate. Definitely one of the best cakes ever! You have to love all the melty plum pockets everywhere.

  30. Kathy

    This post could not have come at a better time. I currently have a big buket of Italian plums frozen in my freezer and was scratching my head wondering what to do with them. Do you think this would work with frozen plums? or would it be mushy?

  31. J

    Okay that looks amazing! I’ll be trying it this weekend. Deb, do you have a recommendation on the ripeness of the plums?

    Thank you for all your amazing recipes!

  32. Laura

    Wow, there’s a seven-years-ago link. (I know, that’s been possible for most of 2013, but still.) And in it, you’re talking about making a baby! How time flies…

    1. deb

      Karyn — Watch out! We went apple picking last weekend, ended up with thirty pounds (oops) and this week I’ve already made 8#s applesauce, 2 apple crisps (one with an oatmeal-raisin cookie topping, gotta share that), and am now plotting apple cinnamon rolls (should I?) and we still have half left! But, that’s not what you asked. I couldn’t find an online record of the apple version, it may have just been in the paper. It’s definitely worth trying, though apples might take longer to turn into jammy puddles. I might quarter them instead.

      Karin — Definitely skip the cinnamon if it won’t be enjoyed. There’s a LOT here.

      Seanna Lea — Ooh, I love the plum kuchen. They’re similar in spirit, but that is a yeasted batter, it’s a little less sweet and different texture. Those plums are sliced and they don’t take over as much, and the cake doesn’t overtake them (it’s not a buckle). And it’s served upside-down. So, mostly it just has plums and butter in common. ;)

      Celeste — 8 regular wedges/generous slices, 10 slimmer ones and 12 tiny ones, for those people asking for “slivers” all the time

      Laura — :) I think the site turned 7 August-September-ish, but I only remembered to add the 7 years ago in late September. Time really does fly.

      J — Mine were horribly overripe/neglected in the back of the fridge, and it was great. I think fully ripe is great here, don’t worry if they’re soft.

      Kathy — They might end up softer, but I don’t think it will be a problem/bad thing.

      Kirsti — The cake freezes well. In fact, there’s a whole famous story that Burros recounts in her book about freezing the cakes, I’ll just copy it here. It’s from her book Elegant But Easy, linked above:

      When I had been married just a couple of years, I had worked out an assembly-line process for making many tortes and putting them in the freezer. A friend who loved the tortes said that in exchange for two she would let me store as many as I wanted in her freezer. A week later she went on vacation for two weeks and her mother stayed with her children. When she returned, my friend called and asked:

      “How many of those tortes did you leave in my freezer?”
      “Twenty-four, but two of those were for you.”
      There was a long pause. “Well, I guess my mother either ate twelve of them or gave them away.” Her mother must have liked them as much as I do. And the children. And possibly the neighbors.

  33. Lisa

    Those Italian prune plums have a very short season, but this cake is good made with peaches, berries, any fruit. Baking it now with pears and almond extract!

  34. Dana RPS ’80

    I have been making this cake since long before the NYTimes issued its edict. Always great for company, everyone thinks it is so elegant I rarely confess how easy it is (I can have in in the oven in literally 15 minutes). Vanilla ice cream goes great . . . homemade if my husband is in the mood to make it. My teenage sons now hope for leftovers for breakfast (as if . . .)

  35. I love the BIG halves, just laying there, and the cake batter rises up around them. Glad you said you find fruit-based cakes to be moister and just better on the 2nd-3rd days. I do too and thought maybe I was imagining it but everything you said about the sweet juices releasing and dispersing – so true!

  36. Andrea

    Leaving it overnight would make it perfect for breakfast, which is always when I want to eat my sweets anyway. Add on the fact that I LOVE plums, and it means I will definitely be making this very soon.

  37. I don’t think I’d ever actually even eaten a plum until a few years ago. How sad is that? I’ll definitely have to try this cake sometime. Looks delicious, and you definitely can’t argue with lasting popularity like that.

  38. Katelinlee

    This looks great! It also bears a strong resemblance to Dorie’s French apple cake, which is my go-to this time of year. Such an easy, silky batter! I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

  39. Wendy

    I have been making the original version of the plum torte for years. It freezes beautifully. I wrap the bottom of the springform pan with aluminum foil before baking to make it easy to remove the whole cake from the pan when it is cooled. I then double wrap in foil and freeze. I have some in the freezer from last fall that I will defrost in the refrigerator when needed/wanted and they will be just as good as when they were baked. We finally planted our own plum tree last year – still a couple years from having any fruit but then I plan on making and freezing a dozen or so each year if I have enough plums. Wonderful if reheated just a bit and served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

  40. Brinn

    Yikes! I just put the cinnamon on the torte and 1 Tablespoon seemed like A LOT! When I referenced the NY times recipe it calls for 1 Teaspoon…. fingers crossed

  41. Lynn

    Hi Deb. This looked so delicious that I immediately took to the farmers’ market for plums. I’ve got it in the oven now (it smells heavenly btw). Upon looking at the original recipe from the NYT, it reads 1 tsp of cinnamon where you put 1 TBS. Is this intentional or an oops? I’m sure I’ll love it either way :)

  42. Michele

    I’ve made this for years and *everyone* loves it! It’s so easy but so delicious. I only use 3/4 cup of sugar and it’s perfect–no need for more. I haven’t made it with lemon juice but I’m sure it would be good. As others have written, it freezes beautifully. I make a bunch when these plums are in season and freeze them. I’ve also done variations off season. It’s great with apples (toss the slices in lemon juice as you prepare them to keep them from browning and for flavor) and I’ve done it with mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries) as well and use vanilla extract and omit the cinnamon. I think the plum version is by far the best though–as Deb says, it tastes great when the juices run through the cake. You must try this torte!

  43. Nancy

    The first year I made this cake I had a baby a few weeks before so I would bake and bring to Washington Sq Park to share, but never tell where I got the recipe. After it was reprinted the next year, others would make but I would bring and share in the same park. 29 years later I am still making this cake every August September, sharing now with that baby’s baby. It’s a perfect cake of joy: simple, tasty, lovely to look at, and memorable.

  44. yes that is a brilliant recipe, but isn’t tracing a recipe a blast? I found a stack of vintage Time Life cookbooks, with authors such as MFK Fisher, Craig Claiborne, James Beard, Julia C, Alec Waugh and others! A real find!
    Plums are a find too – they grow everywhere in Washington State!

  45. Laurel

    My grandmother made this cake every year, as soon as the Italian plums came out. I make it now myself…and think of her as I eat it. Thanks for the post.

  46. Abby

    I’ve been a fan of this blog all the way from Sydney for years. This plum torte looks amazing. I’ll be visiting NYC in a few weeks so hopefully there are still some plums around for me to sample!

  47. Maureen Henderson

    Deb, this recipe comes just in time. We recently moved to the small town of Walla Walla in eastern Washington. This past summer we watched several trees along the creek in our backyard bearing fruit…lots and lots of pretty little purple ovals that a local friend kindly identified as Italian prune plums. Aside from canning them (afraid) I had no idea how to use them. This recipe is so exciting! I’ll make my first cake tomorrow with an eye to establishing a tradition of baking many cakes to give away each fall. Thank you for sharing this…and all your other wonderful SK goodness.

  48. Julia Gratzer

    I first discovered these amazing plums when I moved to Germany 4 years ago. They are called zwetschgen here, and all the bakeries start featuring Zwetschgenkuchen in September. Zwetschgen themselves were such a surprise, a little taste explosion. I am excited to pair those little surprises with some American cake richness, which is often lacking in German cakes. I’ve already addicted my German friends to your”Mom’s Apple Cake” recipe (apples being another important and AMAZINGLY delicious fruit here), I can’t wait to amaze them with this! Thanks!

  49. Catherine

    Wonder if these are like the Victoria plums in the UK, or maybe they could be made with greengages as well. Will have to do some investigating as to what are prune plums here.

  50. Tali

    I love this cake, it tastes like summer. My grandmother used to make it all through summer but with apricots not plums. Didn’t know the original recipe is using plums.. I think I prefer apricots as they are not as sweet.

  51. This cake looks gorgeous. I love fruit cakes and have never yet had the pleasure of trying one with plums, and after reading your description of this one I am in no doubt that I am definitely going to have to bake it. Thank you for the inspiration.

  52. Karen

    I’ve been baking this cake my whole adult life! As a studio apt dweller in NYC in the early 80s, I never had a spring-form– did the original recipe even call for one? I always bake it in a pie plate, and slice the plums smaller. Although I always loved to bake, this was the first cake where I “arranged” the fruit for a beautiful presentation, spiraling around the pan. So rewarding! It never fails. Like an earlier poster, I often reduce the sugar. A friend who professionally bakes at our local farmers market– usually my favorite Eastern European pastries–makes a version that is WAY too sweet for me.

    It works with every variety of plum but the prune type taste and look best. Also, I always found it better right out of the oven, would even take ingredients to bake on site at a dinner party out. Possibly that’s because I was baking a shallower version… the next day it tasted fine, but the crumb was noticeably stale.

  53. Calisson

    I have made this recipe using blueberries, and apples, and peaches– not all in one torte!– and I always omit the cinnamon. It’s fail proof and gets raves wherever it goes!

  54. Adrienne K

    I made this about a month ago. Soooo good. But the recipe I have says 24 halves pitted plums. After quickly reading the list of ingredients, I bought 24 plums and when I halved them all, I wondered how I was going to fit them all on the cake! Oh, by the way, my recipe says skin side down. Weird. It is, in fact, called Plum Torte by Marian Burros – I got it from Epicurious.

  55. kim

    This is my daughter’s fall birthday cake. Plum Kuchen – our recipe does not use yeast. It is paired with a dinner of rouladen, pickled cabbage, homemade noodles. A lovely feast! A sure sign of FALL!

  56. Lori

    Have been making the Burros recipe from a clipping (freezer story and all) for a long time – do not even know where I got it. I make them in bulk and freeze them in disposable pans, while making one in a springform pan to eat right away. I have not been able to find Italian prune plums this year, so I guess I better break down and make it with regular plums. Which means the next day I will find the prune plums.

    Anyway, my tip is, if you are making a lot of these, is to use the food processor. I double the recipe, and then split the batter between two pans. I make four at a time, bake them in two ovens, and just before they come out of the oven, start making the next four. The recipe uses 12 plums per cake. My notes say 3 pounds makes four cakes. My Oma added grated lemon rind to her torte, so if I have it, I will sometimes add it as well. If I am using prune plums, I halve them but if using bigger purple plums, I quarter or slice them. The skin is the best part – it seems to be where the “sour” is.

    Every year, I wonder if I can freeze them unbaked, and then bake them from frozen. I have an apple cake that is very similar to this and I assemble it, toss it in the freezer and bake frozen a couple of hours before we want to eat it.

  57. This is similar to “French apple cakes” I like to make! So simple, but the taste is phenomenal. As I prefer plums over apples most of the time, I’d probably like this torte the best. The simplicity wins out, too.

  58. Julie

    I love this recipe, too. My original says skin side down as well. If you were using cranberries, Deb, how would you adjust the sweetness?

  59. Carole Harlam

    Coincidentally, I’m making the torte for a dinner party I’m having tonight. I make this at least twice a year (sometimes with apricots when in season). And, yes, it can be baked in a 9-inch pan, as long as it’s deep enough; I’ve always made it that way since I prefer a deeper torte.

  60. Liane

    This is the no fail cake in our house. Plums, blueberries, strawberries, sliced apples, pears, bananas are amongst the fruits that we’ve used to vary it up. Even my 16 year old can make it by rote now. We do dial back the sugar to 3/4 cup, especially if using blueberries or strawberries, but the cake forgives you if you use any amount between 3/4 to 1 cup. Double the recipe and make it in a cookie sheet for a party or school function. (Blueberries make this phenomenally quick and easy.) It’s almost impossible to foul this cake up. Lemon and cinnamon depend on fruit choice. That said, prune plums remain my favorite version as they arrive with Rosh Hashanah, making it an annual tradition.

  61. Nancy

    Hi Deb — this looks amazing, but I want to make it for friends who are unable to eat butter. Is crisco at all a reasonable substitute, or would it just not work? Thanks, and I love your site and cookbook!

  62. Wow! Looks delicious and easy to prepare. I have never been good at baking, but will definitely try this. Heading to the grocery store for plums.
    I also tried your pizza crust recipe. It turned out just great! Thanks.

  63. Pam @ Mill Creek Farm

    Lovely looking dessert! I will need to make mine with apples and plan to take it to a Thanksgiving Feast with Friends this weekend! Thanks, again for the inspiration!

  64. Lisa Joy

    Hi Deb, this looks lovely. I’ll be making this very soon. Have ever had gnocchi made with Italian plums? That’s what I always think of when those purple jewels are in season. It’s a very special regional dish from the Friuli region. I grew up there. The pits are replaced with cinnamon, sugar and a knob of butter and then the entire plum is wrapped in gnocchi dough and boiled as usual. They’re served with a sauce of brown butter and fresh bread crumbs. Swoon.

  65. Kristin

    My springform is 10″, I am wondering if I should just let the cake be less tall or should I 1 1/2X the recipe and just make it thicker? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. deb

      Hi Kristin — Either should work. I don’t think thicker would be unwelcome.

      Lisa — Oh my gawd. Seriously? That sounds… oh forget it… I’m buying tickets to Friuli. People have travelled for worse reasons, right?

      Nancy — I see no reason not to make it with shortening, olive oil or even virgin coconut oil. It will change the flavor profile but will still work as a cake.

      Cranberry, apple, and other variations — Here is an article Burro wrote about freezing the torte, as well as making an apple-cranberry version.

      Recipe discrepancies — As I mentioned in the recipe’s head notes, there have been many versions of this over the years, almost all sanctioned by Burros as she responded to readers wishes. Well, a few have typos, too. Anyway, some say that the plums should be flesh-side-down, others skin-side-down, some have more or less sugar (3/4 cup instead 1 cup in cake, 1 tablespoon instead of 2 on top), some omit the lemon juice, etc. I used the one closest to the original that I could find, as I figured that it was the original that sent it into popular orbit forever. Or so I thought. I received a note from Amanda Hesser this morning giving me a heads-up that the 1 tablespoon listed in the Essential New York Times Cookbook is actually a typo, and should be 1 teaspoon. I made it with 1 tablespoon and didn’t mind it, but when I think about it, 1 teaspoon makes a lot more sense. I’ll add a note in the recipe. In fact, the very original version in the Times had 1 tablespoon too, but all of the future ones had only 1 teaspoon, suggesting that it had been a typo.

      Elizabeth — It might be delicious. It might also get lost in the recipe; it’s hard to guess with browned butter when there’s a more dominant ingredient (the plums and cinnamon).

  66. janeannechovy

    I usually make the Cook’s Illustrated version of this cake (July/August 2007), which uses ground almonds, but I’ll have to try this one next September!

  67. Susan

    I just inherited this recipe (your photos helped me improve the final step!) and have been making if for a few weeks. The card that I got promised that it also freezes well – which turns out to be true….and that you can substitute other sorts of fruits (suggested were apples) to this basic recipe. I would love to know what other fruits might work.

  68. Jessiet

    These, these are the recipes that I love! Those that are tried and true, by folks I “know”; those we turn to again and again, and yet again; and lastly, those recommended so soundly by you. I absolutely cannot wait to try this, and I’ll bet it is one I’ll return to over and over. And, as you so perfectly put it, “why am I still sitting here”?

  69. Oh my gosh! This will surely become my staple cake for Fall! I have quite an obsession, ehm passion for plums and recently I’ve posted a yellow multi-grain cake on my blog too! I can’t wait to try this version out, and I totally agree with you: fruit cakes taste a lot better eaten the second day. I was skeptical at the beginning but had to change my mind about that :)

    xo, Elisa

  70. Joyce

    Hmmmm….think this would be good using grapes instead of plums? Wondering weight-wise what the substitution amount would be. Also, what a is good spice to use with grapes? Still cinnamon? Ideas appreciated – thanks!

  71. Janet E

    My Mom made this every year since about the early 1930’s. the only difference is that she quartered the plums and laid skin side down. Thanks for printing the recipe as she had hers commited to memory – a pinch of this and a pinch of that!!!!!

  72. K.

    This cake sits on my counter at this moment, fresh from the oven, its sugar-and cinnamony scent practically begging me to eat i right away.. I might have to leave the house for a while so I don’t give in to the impulse to do just that. Darn this tests my impulse control

  73. Petra

    This is my husband’s favorite plum torte. He even has the original recipe from NY TImes 1983. Any chance of using a 10″ spring form pan? Any variation to baking time? Tomorrow is our anniversary and this would be perfect! Thanks Deb. Glad the UK trip was rocking for you.

  74. Nechama

    I need to be virtually sugar free and I hate imitations. What about applesauce, or 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar (a lot healthier), or just leaving it out? The sweet plums would be a nice contrast with a cinnamon-bread texture, maybe? Can I use olive oil in place of butter? Can’t eat that either. I’m not crazy just on a special food plan. Would either of these substitutions work?

  75. RG

    Is there any way to make this cake without a springform pan? My kitchen is teeming with appliances and yet I feel like I am always short of essential ones. But with something like an electric mixer, there’s obviously a more manual solution. Is there any workaround for this? I would love to make this torte.

  76. Kate

    I have this recipe written in my mother’s handwriting on an index card – here in Auckland, New Zealand! She starting making in in the 80s, & I’ve continued – with multiple variations in fruit, and have even used canned peaches or plums in an emergency. Lovely to hear the recipe provenance here, and wonder how it made its way to NZ…

  77. heidipie

    My mom made this every year while I was growing up in Brooklyn! This recipe is laminated in my brain. The cake freezes beautifully, too.

  78. Elisa

    I’m so excited to make this cake. It looks amazing.

    I truly look forward to your entries everyday, (although there isn’t a new recipe waiting for me everyday. Whaaa) Your writing is just pure geniu, making me want to run to the market gather all the missing ingredients and then back to the kitchen to begin baking or cooking.

    Thanks for being so inspirational.

  79. Tanya B

    Holy frioles! I understand why this is such a hit. I honestly didn’t have high expectations, but I had some plums that were on their last leg and needed to go. I made it earlier today, and I can’t get enough. Hopefully, I will have some to try tomorrow to see if it is even better. Although, I can’t imagine it being much better. The best part, it was super quick and easy. Thanks for another great recipe!

  80. Corey

    Yum! Mine is in the oven right now, but just a note for those without access to Italian purple plums: half the number of plums if you’re using the run-of-the-mill kind! I went out and bought 12 and had waaaay too many. Otherwise, I’m really excited to see how it turns out; your photos make it look divine!

  81. Amanda

    I saw this entry yesterday and decided to make the plum torte last night for a family shindig today. It went over AMAZINGLY well — yours is prettier though :)

  82. Donna

    One tablespoon of cinnamon seems like a lot — from what I can see online, the Marian Burros version called for one teaspoon. Did you purposely increase it? Just wondering, before I try it!

  83. kathy

    Hi Deb

    So many people seem to talk about freezing this recipe-but I find things never taste so good when I them and so i am a little cautious about it-what is the best way to freeze and defrost a cake like this? Thanks

  84. Josh

    I cooked my cake for almost 50 minutes at 350 degrees and it seemed done but when I cut into it after it cooled it wasn’t cooked through. I tried the toothpick trick and no batter stuck to it. Any tips on what could have gone wrong?

    1. Amy

      Hey Josh,
      There is a lot of juice from the plums, like it almost turns the cake into a pudding, which in my opinion is what makes it so amazing! Plum juice comes out on my toothpick, but not raw batter. Hope that helps!

  85. Tanya

    Deb_obsessed with you site from the day i stumbled upon it…i have a question! Can i simply use a glass pie pan? i don’t have my treasured springform pan after my last break up i lost all my good baking supplies…

    Thanks so much for making my life as a stay at home mom so much better, i went to culinary school and though i’ve had a passion for food since i was a young girl there are many a night i wouldn’ t have had anything decent or different to eat if it weren’t for you…im notorious for getting myself into a cooking rut and swearing off food.

  86. I buy Italian plums in season, slice them, pit them and then freeze them in freezer bags so that I can make this cake all winter long. Works great! Sometimes I don’t have time to defrost them fully, so i’ll bake the cake a bit longer.

  87. I made this cake last night for a special birthday dinner for my parents-in-law, and it was amazingly, awesomely, delicious!!! Thank you for putting up the recipe!!!

  88. Lynn

    An addendum to my earlier concern (#78) about the amount of cinnamon….I did use the whole 1 TBS and thought it lovely. Not too much by any means. And waiting overnight, as difficult as it was, left me rewarded with the best plummy, jammy puddles. Perfect as written, Thx Deb.

  89. This is very similar to a recipe we have in our family. I make it all the time during blue-plum season, and I’ve found it works great with blueberries or raspberries too. In our recipe, we stand the plums up on their sides so we can fit more into the cake!

  90. Margaret

    Deb, I may be one of your few readers who own the original paperback copy of Elegant but Easy. In fact, I found one at a tag sale a few years ago and bought that as well as my original copy was falling apart! Thanks for reprising these wonderful recipes

  91. Kristen

    My sister and I have been making the NYT/Burros recipe for a while now. We usually modify it slightly by adding roughly 4 oz. of almond paste to the batter. It is delicious!

  92. Kristin

    Thanks for responding to my question! I did make it in my 10″ springform with one and a half times the batter. The extra batter rose and covered the plums, so it looked quite different, but it was incredibly delicious. It was kind of neat that the fruit was a hidden surprise. Thanks again!

  93. Brenda

    Couldn’t find small black plums so cut up regular black plums. It came out great, and the kitchen smelled wonderful while it was baking.

  94. Tonie

    I have had Burros’s cookbook for years, since the New York Times published that recipe, and I have enjoyed this torte many times – not so much lately…Thanks for the reminder!

  95. Have always made this cake with peaches and blueberries, only had it with plums at a restaurant. Didn’t know that was the classic. Saw and made it this year with strawberries, but peaches and blueberries is the best, in my opinion. I sometimes double it in a 3 qt glass pan.

  96. Beth

    Oh my, this is so weird. I just got home from the farmer’s market with two quarts of these exact plums. I just sat down at the computer to look up some recipes. The first website I went to was this one. And bingo! So it would be just wrong of me NOT to make this recipe.

  97. Nechama

    Are we driving you crazy with all of our questions and food foibles? It’s only because you’re the greatest and so are your recipes!

    1. deb

      Nechama — Not at all. I fell behind on answering questions this weekend, though, so I’m catching up this morning (earlier ones in this post weren’t responded to, but later ones were, because I usually read them backwards.)

      Tanya — Depends on how deep it is, but I suspect it would work. When baking in glass pans, it’s better to reduce the temperature by 25 degrees.

      Josh — It might help to poke the toothpick in a few places — I do this because my oven bakes so unevenly that the front third might seem fine but then there’s a weird batter-y pocket on the side.

      Kathy — I link to Burros freezing directions in Comment #126. However, if the issue is flavor, and you mean a “freezery” flavor, there’s little that can be done (it’s just your freezer) except for cleaning out the vents and that kind of thing. (You can google for instructions on helping to get rid of that smell. I have had this problem with almost every freezer I’ve had, as I have always lived in rentals.)

      Donna — See my additional notes about the cinnamon in Comment #126. Meant to add it to the headnotes this weekend but forgot. :(

  98. CarolJ

    Agree with all the praise about this versatile cake. I make it in a 9″ pie plate – have made it with rhubarb and peaches and with whole wheat pastry flour.

  99. I smiled big and wide when I read this for I too have a copy of this recipe…..somewhere. Every year about this time I go searching through drawers and paper stacks trying to locate this rare little cake map. I am happy to see that I need only to come to your site to find a long lost treasure! Thanks!

  100. Emily

    What’s the best way to pit the plums? I actually was trying to pit plums this very morning for the muffins from your cookbook, and the skins were coming off but all the flesh was sticking to the pit. Advice?

  101. Sue

    This looks delicious, but plums are not easy to come by where I live. Has anyone tried it with rhubarb? Might need some extra sugar…

  102. Bree

    I often bake for a group where someone is deathly allergic to cinnamon. Any thoughts on what cinnamon could be replaced by in recipes like this one?

  103. I haven’t seen prune plums for at least a month (cursed West Coast weather), but I did pick up some regular old black ones earlier today and will give it a go. This sounds too good to resist.

  104. Sally

    I baked it yesterday with anonymous plums from the farmers’ market and we waited impatiently until tonight. O yum!!! I used the full Tbsp. of cinnamon and it was great. Our plums were pretty tart, so I’m glad I used the cup of sugar. Tomorrow we’re going to try zapping it just a bit, with some cold cream to pour over. Thank you, Deb!

  105. brigitte

    Just made this for the 1st time and it’s *amazing* — a brilliant, glorious thing! I added a tiny splash of vanilla and almond extract to the batter — but followed everything else as written and it’s a perfect torte… I just saw the comment regarding the typo regarding the cinnamon, but thought it worked, even with the mistake (but I am a cinnamon addict).

    Thanks SO much for posting this one! I’ve printed it out, tucked it into my Cake Bible and will definitely make it again!

  106. Elsa

    Have been making it for years – but could never wait till the second day for the first slice…even though I agree that it does become moist and decadent and even more delicious. I do like a little drizzle of vanilla extract.

  107. Sherry

    Oh Deb! You did it again, this is fantastic! We have three prune plum trees, we give sacks and sacks away to all our neighbors. I always like to include a new recipe so they will be sure and use every last one! This one is so easy, can’t believe I’ve never come across it before. MANY, MANY THANKS! I made it Saturday night with plums that I froze (season is over here in Seattle) waited until breakfast to try it, the two of use finished it off this morning (Monday)! Wonderful!!!!

  108. Anita

    This cake turned out great, even with not so great plums. But I think there was a bit too much cinnamon, even though I like the flavor. Next time, I would use 1-2 teaspoons instead of a tablespoon on top.

  109. Any idea why this was caled a torte? Maybe I am narrow minded, but I believe a torte is a European style cake, usually with lots of whipped cream/ frosting, often in layers, sometimes flourless. This is a buckle/ coffee cake. In our period of internet recipes, seems like names matter even more for folks searching, not to mention distortion of culinary traditions by using fancier names than needed. I guess the time period in which this recipe was originally written was perhaps somewhat provincial period in American cooking? This cake doesn’t need improving upon with a fancy name– it is quite good.

  110. Suzy

    Hi Deb,
    I have enjoyed your recipes/website for years and the cookbook has been great fun. What is it about cookbooks that make for such pleasant bedtime reading?! It’s kind of like short stories for folks who don’t like short stories. Don’t get me wrong, I like it for the recipes too, but it’s kind of like a two for one deal.

    This plum cake reminds me very much of a similar cake I make from a German recipe that uses apples instead of plum. After peeling the apple, you shallowly score the rounded side about 1/8″ apart and place rounded side up just as you’ve done here. While baking, all those little scores open up and sort of ‘bloom’ making the apple look sort of like a fan. It’s very pretty, and tasty, but I will definitely have to try this plum version.

    All of this got me thinking about the ‘rumtopf’ that I’ve currently been making this spring & summer. I’d love to make some sort of cake, using the rumtopf fruits, baked into a cake that is then also brushed with (more!) liquor and allowed to age. Do you think the crumb/batter of this recipe would hold up to this sort of treatment? I like the idea of, I almost hate to say it, fruitcakes, but rarely like the outcome because of, well all of those fruitcake jokes are around for a reason. The cake part of fruitcake seems to be too scant to cover all of the fruit, and the usual dried fruits that are used are kind of horrible. Also, they all seem to be too overly spiced for my taste. If you can think of a cake batter that would hold up to my proposed treatment, let me know!

    Anyway, thanks again for all the great recipes and wonderful writing. I enjoy both immensely.

  111. Maria

    Deb, I have made this famous plum torte in the past, and I found it nearly indistinguishable from the Dimply Plum Cake recipe I’ve also made from your blog. When it is plum season I look forward to making either one!

  112. Deb, for your slew of apples, 1) Yes, we want apple cinnamon rolls and 2) you should consider preserving some apple compote or something of that nature to have for oatmeal later in the winter when the apples have gone away.

  113. I’m sorry if someone has already asked this question, but I don’t honestly have time to read them all.

    How ripe do the plums need to be? Hard, medium, soft, super soft (about to get tossed out)? What have you found is the best level of ripeness for this cake?

    Also, they didn’t have any smallish ones. I’d say these are medium-large. Do you think it would still work to cut them in quarters? The batter will fill up and over them anyway, right?

    I bought a bunch this weekend expressly to make this and I don’t want to make til the perfect moment for the plums.


    1. deb

      Maria — So interesting! I find that one comparatively firm/dry and not plum-y enough. But only because I’ve since fallen for this. (To everyone else, we’re discussing Dorie Greenspan’s Dimply Plum Cake in the archives.)

      Karin — I recommend ripe plums. Firm fruit never softens as much in the oven, which is fine for some things but I think less ideal for a cake like this, where you’re hoping for jammy puddles.

      Catherine — Victoria plums would be great (I had one while I was there — delicious). Mostly, I wanted to recommend one of the oval-shaped varieties of plums as a first choice as they tend to be juicier and soft, so they bake well. But really, any variety should work.

      Larger springform — Go for it; the cake will just be thinner. You could theoretically increase the plum-to-cake ratio, too, if you fully cover a larger pan.

      Regular 9-inch cake pan — I didn’t try it, but it sounds from others here that it works.

      Finally, Did I miss your comment? — I’m sorry, I’m usually on top of this but I fell behind/stopped and started too many times reading and responding to comments this weekend and sort of lost my place. (I read them backwards, it’s confusing. I won’t bore you.) Anyway, if I’ve missed your question on a recent post, including this one, just leave me a comment that says “Ahem, #__” (whatever comment # it was) and I’ll get to it, I promise. Don’t I always? Wait, don’t answer that… (FWIW, I do try to respond to all questions/concerns. B for effort?)

  114. Alexandra

    Bree, not sure if it answers your question exactly, but Deb answered ‘skip the cinnamon if it wont be enjoyed’ to a previous poster. Perhaps that helps.

    1. deb

      Bree, Alexandra — Thanks. Yes, it can be skipped. There’s no cinnamon-like spice, but I know there are people who like things like nutmeg or cardamon or even ground ginger with plums. You could beat a little lemon zest or vanilla into the batter. But you don’t need to. I think you’ll be happy with just a plum-flavored plum cake.

  115. This looks amazing. I have never made a torte and generally shy away from anything baking (just not my forte though I love sweets). The description made it sound seemimgly simple so I’m feeling the courage to give this a try. I am also excited about using plums- they seem to be so underused in baking/cooking as compared to blueberries, strawberries, apples, etc. Thanks for posting!!

  116. Gerre Schwert

    Deb, this looks lovely and I’ll definitely try! I must tell you that I made your “Mom’s Apple Cake” today and it is divine! My daughter, Ree Drummond, gave me your cookbook and the exploration through it’s pages is such a treat. I also made the pasta shells with peas and light alfredo sauce using Half ‘n Half due to no cream in the house. Still delicious!

  117. Lovely cake, my father used to make one just like it. Beeing german (in Germany) he used damson plums (Zwetschgen) which look a lot like tose you use in this recipe.
    Is there a difference between Italian (what makes them italian?) and damson plums? If so do, you think substituting the damson variety would work here?

    1. deb

      doro — Damson plums would be just fine; they look similar too. I am not sure why we call the variety I used here Italian, but I wanted to make sure I used the descriptors people would most often see at stores and greenmarkets here to remove any confusion.

      Suzy — Sorry I missed that. The blooming apple sounds beautiful; I’d love to try it. I’ve never made rumptopf but just did some reading on it and it sounds wonderful. It’s hard for me to say if it will work here as I’ve never made fruitcake either (boo, Deb!) but if the crumb seems similar to that of fruitcake, I see no reason not to try it.

      Nicki — Noooo! Okay, you win for dedication. I hope it at least tastes like victory. If it doesn’t, brush it with dark rum. That will fix it. ;)

  118. Nicki

    Hi Deb
    I love this dessert. I made it for our Thanksgiving dinner this weekend. Unfortunately I managed to slice my finger as I was preparing that one last plum that I thought I could just squeeze in. As I went out the door to get stitched up, I called to my son to lightly cover the assembled torte. Three hours and a few stitches later I added the lemon juice etc and baked it. Turned out beautifully so I am adding a note that the assembled torte can be made ahead to that point – although I’m not sure why anyone would want to as it tastes so wonderfully plum gooey the day after baking (but just in case)

  119. Deb! I just ate my last Italian purple Plum from my CSA this week…agh! I am now on the hunt for more or perhaps I will turn to some apples or cranberries. Thanks for bringing this recipe to the forefront again…It is a winner!

  120. Love it!
    I made this last night and the even no-sweet-tooth hubs was sold instantly :)
    It seems my mixture was somewhat more runny than yours in the picture, so my plums sank a bit to the bottom while baking. It left me with a plum soaked bottom and a more solid, cripsy top, which was yummy al the same :)

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

  121. Tucker

    I loved this. The Italian plums are out of season in Phoenix Arizona. I shop at a specialty grocery store that focuses on produce called “Sprouts”. It has changed my life. Sprouts did not have them. AJ’s fine Foods did not have them. Whole Foods did not have them. I used bigger plums (cannot remember the name)and they seemed to work fine. My Bible Study Group loved it. On to the graham cracker recipe, which I am struggling with.

  122. Almas

    I made this last night and got it to work today. Got lots of compliments for it. A co-worker said I outdid myself :)

    Thanks Deb! You rock!

  123. Sarah

    I ran out to union square on Saturday after seeing this post, found the ONE vendor left who was selling these plums and made this cake that same afternoon! Even though the plums didn’t look or taste so good raw, they were fantastic in the cake. As always, thanks for the recipe!

    Oh, and I am working on getting a Napolean cake recipe from some family members in case you need any more sources for inspiration

  124. Maria

    Thank you for giving me something to do with the plums (exactly this kind — I live in Germany and the Germans are obsessed with this type) that have been sitting in my fridge! I just can’t do plum kuchen, not sweet enough for my taste. :)

  125. Catherine

    This came out of my oven a little while ago; it was almost TOO easy to throw together! After tasting the batter, I thought next time I would go with 3/4 c. sugar instead of the full cup, but we’ll see how it turns out when the baked cake is sampled. It smells incredible… thus making it extremely difficult (as you mentioned) to allow a proper rest. Must. Resist. Devouring. (For now). Thanks for the recipe!

  126. Catherine

    #199 Tucker: The AJ’s on Lincoln/Scottsdale Rd. still has Italian prune plums- I bought them there the other day for 1.99/lb.

  127. Elle

    Made it with half ripe italian plum & some less than perfectly ripe. Had a handful of leftover streusel in the freezer so threw that on top, too. Managed to wait 24 hours per Deb’s instructions and am so glad we did. Really delicious. Even my not-a-plum loving guy said, “That’s a keeper. Make it with peaches, next time.”

  128. Julia

    I used pears cut in large chunks and substituted 1/2 tsp almond extract and 1/2 tsp vanilla for the cinnamon. It was delicous the next day as advertised but honestly I thought it was extraordinary still warm from the oven. Maybe that’s because ripe pears are softer and juicier than plums.

  129. Rochelle

    I’ve loved this cake for years – it’s also delicious topped with fresh apricot halves and sliced almonds – and I add 1/2 tsp. almond extract to the batter.

  130. Jeannine

    This looks divine! I grew up thinking these fruits were called prunes… Ripening in early Fall, with a dark purple color with slightly greenish to golden flesh. They are oblong in shape and are the fruit used to make dried prunes. I think every body who can should plant one of these trees! I now know people also call them Italian Plums… any way you call it, delicious!

  131. Stefanie

    I made the cake yesterday with half of the sugar and two rather tart apples, cut into slices and pushed standing up into the batter, so that the cake rose around them. Tried it today as per instruction. Very tasty, nicely non-dry (lush, succulent or juicy does somehow not convey the right picture) and non too sweet. Thank you, that recipe is a keeper and seems to lend itself to a whole host of fruits.

  132. I made this and loved it but the plums I got at Union Square farmers market were quite ripe and had tough skins, which detracted from the ease of eating. I imagine that peeling them would drastically reduce flavor?

  133. Went to the farmers market Saturday — bought a basket of plums. Made this Saturday afternoon — but took your advice and let it sit overnight. I couldn’t wait on Sunday morning — and decided it was enough like a coffee cake to serve with breakfast! Tart, jammy, sweet, cakey, wonderful goodness! Thank you!

  134. Morgan

    Made this last night after an after-work plum run! It was delicious! I used just regular plums (black, I think) and they weren’t super-ripe either. I thought that there wasn’t enough batter, but I spread it thin in the spring-form and placed the halved plums on top. Also, I thought that maybe 24 halves was a bit much so I only used about 15, but I really wish I had just squeezed the rest in there, because the batter rose right up and I almost felt like it wasn’t plummy enough. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  135. Liz W

    Wow, this looks divine! I will be making it tonight. My go-to plum cake for late-summer/fall is Flo Braker’s plum (non-yeasted) kuchen from The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. Her’s is a very dense cake featuring purple figs and a sprinkling of walnuts in addition to these divine puddle-y Italian plums, and cloves instead of cinnamon. I’ll try yours tonight, but might add a dash of cloves to the cinnamon sugar because the clove/plum pairing has become irresistible to me, and so evocative of fall.

  136. Jen S

    Great recipe & incredibly quick. The greenmarket was out of plums so I made it with very ordinary black plums from the supermarket & it was still excellent. They were larger so I quartered them instead of halving, and used 6. I’d probably cut the sugar to 3/4 next time; it was a little sweet for my taste. But excellent.

  137. Bonny

    Just what I had been looking for. A vehicle for my small brown turkey figs. I added 1 tab. of lemon peel to the batter, (leaving out amy mention of cinnamon or vanilla), drenched the halved figs in 3 tab. honey and 2 tab lemon juice, and applied them cut side up very snugly together over the batter. I drizzeled a small amount of the marinade over the top. Voila Thanks for the inspiration.

  138. Sheila

    This was so good! I am so glad you added the sprinkled lemon juice on top. I could only find the large purple plums so this is what I used. I can not see where this cake could have been any yummier! Next time though I will not wait 24 hours. I will eat a piece warm right out of the oven and have leftovers the next day if I can keep my husband out of it. Thank you for sharing such goodness.

  139. Maggie M

    Delicious! I’m not a baker and it turned out great. I questioned the amount of cinnamon too, but still used 1 tbsp. It absorbed well. The divine smell hung around the kitchen the next day. My husband enjoyed it immensely. Neither one of us had ever had a plum torte/cake/dessert before. Thanks for sharing.

  140. Denise

    A friend of mine told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I look forward to looking at both of your blogs. Denise

  141. alice

    Two weeks ago I spent a good few hours digging through folders and folders of clipped recipes frantically trying to find my copy of this recipe, which I had saved when it originally appeared in the NY Times. Many thanks for posting it. I’ll always know where to find it now!

  142. kate

    Hi Deb,
    This looks great :) On a different note though, I have noticed that you seem to be posting recipes a bit less often lately, I was thinking about it today, and then I thought… Maybe Deb is working on her second book :D!??
    That would be great! The pages on my copy of your first one are so caked/jammed/sauced/floured and spiced up that its a little embarrassing, but that just means, 1: It gets used ALOT! And 2: You will have to write a new one for all of us to delight in again :D

  143. Becca (she bakes)

    OMG this is my mom’s High Holidays cake recipe. She stocks up on plums as soon as they are in season and immediately makes and freezes several of these tortes. I directed her here, so she can witness you (and your readers) going gaga over the same torte we all love!

    1. deb

      Ashby — :( I know. I’d intended the post for the last week of September, but got off schedule when I was in the UK. Then I saw plums at the Greenmarkets here and decided it was still relevant. How about apples instead?

      kate — Thank you. I’m not working on a second book, not even a little. I *try* to post twice a week. Unfortunately, I was totally too busy to post while I was in the UK the second half of September, and this week the excuse is that I was working on easily the hugest post in a year (2,200 words! 22 photos! I need a nap.) which is up now. Sometimes when a post is that much work/research/writing, I only can update once in a week. However, now that that’s done, and the book touring, I can finally get back to my usual routine, which makes me very happy. :)

  144. Jillian L

    Somehow I’ve actually never heard of this recipe before, so thank you for sharing! I used the larger amount of cinnamon, definitely pronounced, but delicious, and I thought that was just the flavour it was supposed to be. And I just want to say how awesome this blog is, and how handy it is for company. My (soon to be) inlaws are always impressed by our cooking, and it’s usually a SK recipe, not to mention the fact I got my guy’s mom your cookbook for christmas and she absolutely loved it! So thank you, as always!

  145. Leah

    Made this last night with a mess o’ plums that were passing their prime in my fruit bowl. The aroma was heavenly! But I think next time I’ll try to use smaller plums. Mine were large enough that the top of the cake was covered with only 10 halves; the larger fruit size meant that the top of the cake formed big plum craters rather than little plum puddles, and the sides of the cake rose up much higher than the comparably sunken middle. I haven’t gotten any complaints about the taste, though, so it’s mostly a cosmetic issue.

  146. Deidre

    This was dessert for Canadian Thanksgiving at my place on Monday. Delicious! I also used larger plums, but I am keen to try it with Italian plums the next time I see them in the store.

  147. Daniela

    Is it bad that my family has made this cake 4 times in the last 5 days? Sadly it doesn’t make it past the hour before it’s gone. We keep telling ourselves that since it has so much fruit it must be healthy… Absolutely delicious! Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  148. Anisha

    Yay! What a great recipe for a rainy fall night after a long day. Ours would have worked with half the sugar (closer to 1/3-1/2 cup), but that may be partly because I used a mix of regular granulated and turbinado sugar? I used black plums for lack of Italian-plum options at the market — these should be cut into smaller pieces so there’s more plum coverage throughout the torte. I also added 1 tsp of almond extract and a mix of regular and almond flour. Next time I’ll add 1/2-1 tsp of cardamom. Couldn’t resist eating a little for breakfast today :)

  149. Racheltee

    Hi Deb,
    This recipe turned out beautifully! I used the full amount of sugar and a mix of regular black and red plums cut into smaller wedges.

    You mentioned only using 1 tsp of cinnamon in your intro, but not in the recipe itself — I wonder if you might want to include your tip there as well? In the panic to get this cake (along with dinner) ready before company arrived, I didn’t have time to read things through carefully. I happened to have added 1 tsp on my own intuition but was half-anxious about under-spicing until it was time for dessert! Wondering if you might spare other lazy readers like me out there from some pre-entertaining stress.
    Thanks again for the recipe, just delish.

    1. deb

      Hi Racheltee — Glad you enjoyed it. Sorry for the confusion. I did use the 1 tablespoon listed. It was after I published this that I learned that although the original recipe had been for 1T, it was most likely an error because all of the versions thereafter only had 1 teaspoon. But I will add a note on the cinnamon line too.

  150. Rachel

    I made this cake yesterday, and resisted eating it until today, as advised (which was super difficult given how fragrant it was. It is flavorful, moist, AMAZING. I followed the recipe, except used one teaspoon of cinnamon, and not the tablespoon. It was plenty cinnamony. I also added one teaspoon of almond extract to the batter. The almond flavor blended wonderfully with the plum. If anyone wants a small variation, I strongly recommend it!

  151. Audrey

    Made these last night with regular black plums! Used 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla extract instead of cinnamon. Would say 1/2 cup would work too as it’s a sweet cake b/c of the plums & sugar combo. Next time will try with blueberries or apples. Very easy to bake and DELISH!!

  152. Rhonda

    Mmmmmmmm. Well. I made this tonight. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it this year because of the lateness if the season for plums, but alas, I found some. So I brought them home and waited until very late in the evening to begin, because, you know, there’s no way in hell that all the menfolk who hang around my house are going to let this alone til the next day, if they’re here and the aroma is lingering. No way. So they had to be gone for the night. Once they were, I got busy. I don’t have a springform pan anymore, why I don’t know, but it’s gone. And my casserole dishes were already busy with leftovers. So I used a bundt pan. Bad idea? I dunno, you tell me. Honestly the only bad part about it was that I listened, against my inner doubt, to the direction about using an untreated pan. I made the batter and spread it around and then added a dozen healthy plums on top. Baked it for almost an hour. And when it was done, my home felt like Christmas had arrived. Mmmmmmmmm. The aroma of baked plums is simply divine. I tried to rescue the conglomeration from the trappings of the bundt pan, with disastrous result. But itts almost beautiful. Definitely delicious. And I’m so glad I’m the only one up to be able to cheat and taste it RIGHT NOW. Mmm mm mm. Yum :)

  153. Ali

    Re Bree’s comment 166: I too have a friend deathly allergic to cinnamon and use ground allspice (the real stuff, made from the Jamaican pepper berry, not the fake stuff made by mixing cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) as a substitute. I usually adjust the quantity down as the flavour is slightly different, but it works quite well in most baking (especially in pumpkin-themed foods).

  154. msue

    My hat is off to anyone who can make this delicious cake, and the LEAVE IT UNTOUCHED OVERNIGHT! All these years of yoga did not prepare me for the inner strength required to resist the instant gratification. So good. I forgot the lemon juice, duh, but otherwise made it as written (using black plums). Big winner!

  155. Kate

    Delicious! I had the same problem with the batter in the middle not being totally cooked even though I did the toothpick test and it came out clean. Will do as you suggest and poke in several places next time. My oven may be due for a new thermometer as well. I will make this again Deb!

  156. Anna

    I only had 6 plums so I made 12 muffins with no other alterations. They freeze beautifully after baking and I just reheat them in the microwave. Everybody loves them. A lot!

  157. Elem

    Delish! I have a 10 inch springform pan and I decreased cooking time to 30 minutes, but had to increase the number of plums to cover the top. It is amazing! I did add a little almond extract to the batter too. This is better than my summer all purpose cake covered in fruit, this will be my new go to!

  158. john

    this is my kind of cake, a buttery batter with fruit baked right in. rustic and simple. but where do you find plums in october? i live in los angeles, the land of eternal summer where, seemingly, everything grows all the time, and i’ve been to 4 supermarkets, including two whole foods and 1 natural grocer who supports local farmers and not a plum in sight.

  159. Italian plums were $1/lb at the farmers’ market! So there is plum jam in my future. And the ones that halved prettily ended up in this cake. I don’t have a springform pan, but I did have two mini loaf pans. I might have dig them out of their pans with a spoon, but the capacities worked out beautifully.

  160. brenda

    made it! I didn’t have purple plums but yellow ones and blueberries to fill in the gaps – and holy cow, it was soo good! the top of the cake was crispy the inside cakey, and the cinnamon made my house smell so good!

  161. Eleanor

    Hello Deb,
    Thank you for this recipe and the glorious photos that motivate and guide us.
    I made the plum torte yesterday and we enjoyed it; tasted it this morning, the magic had happened. Letting it “age” overnight is the way to go!

  162. Candace

    I jumped for joy when I found some prune plums at my farmers market, and was SO excited to try this recipe. Thank you for another solid recipe I’ll make again and again. I was trying to explain to my husband how I felt as though I was connecting with decades of cooks in NY through a shared recipe – that it is somehow a shared life experience or something. He smiled and nodded. Regardless, this recipe was satisfying on so many levels.

  163. QueenMab

    This is definitely becoming one of my classics !

    I’ve made it twice already, and it was a huge success both times :) For the second try, I’ve increased the amount of flour to 200gr, and butter to 190gr, and put 2 layers of plums for even more fruit goodness ! (I’ve also added some sliced almonds to the dough each time, it brings a nice contrasty texture to the plums)

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :)

  164. I made this for a dinner party on Sunday. omg. Fabulous. I added some grapefruit zest because it sounded like a good idea(added a bright bitter note). My plums were just the run-of-the-mill grocery variety and not particularly ripe, so I was worried it would be less than spectacular. Silly concern. It was simply divine. Not too sweet, just right, fruity and juicy. It. is. everything. Thanks for another winning recipe.

  165. followup: Making this for my first time in totally different containers yielded a delicious tea cake that was not too much like the one you describe.

    Okay, so just how much batter ends up being in the bottom of the pan? I had 4 small bread tins because that seemed roughly equivalent, but then only used two because it looked like hardly any batter. And they didn’t overflow. But also I could only fit half as many plums on top as the recipe called for and the plum juice only penetrated about halfway down. So it is really only about 3/4″ of batter by the time it is all spread out and ready for the plums? That’s terrifyingly thin (to someone who mostly bakes quickbreads, instead of cakes or more complicated things)!

    On the other hand, the resulting baked good was DELICIOUS. I would make this recipe again. I love how flexible it clearly is. (Something very appealing to a nervous baker like me)

  166. Adele

    i have a tin of plums in the pantry at the moment, just wondering what should be reduced/omitted if substituting canned for fresh and will the resulting cake suffer..please say no!

  167. Carmen

    Deb, I made this gluten free over the weekend and it came out great. I substituted the cup of flour with Trader Joes GF APF (King Arthur would work well too) and added 1 teaspoon of corn starch and a pinch of guar gum. It rose over the plums well and tasted delicious!

  168. Joana

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I live in Germany where every fall I am surrounded by plum cakes that I hate (sorry, German friends and family, but there are some ways in which I will never assimilate). Now I finally have a recipe that I like. I made this twice in one week and my kids loved it, too.

  169. Cristina

    This cake has been a favorite in my family since it was first published. I remember that my mom even made it for my younger brother’s birthday party when I was about 6. I loved the cake but I did not think it was appropriate for a birthday cake and I remember thinking that I would not have stood for such a cake for my birthday. We still make today! Thanks for sharing!

  170. pauline

    I am German and this IS officially the best Zwetschenkuchen i’ve ever had full stop. We made it for the first time at the weekend and unsurprisingly couldn’t wait and gobbled have of it up. Then I finished the other half in modest ‘slivers’ over the next day and couldn’t believe how the flavour and texture had developed .. beautiful … moistly almondy and not soggy at all. I just pulled another from the oven which i’ll bring on the plane to England tomorrow to give to our friends who’ll be hosting us for the weekend ..

  171. Mary

    I made the cake this weekend and it was a big hit with my family. I had to buy plums from the supermarket (rather than the farmstand) & I was disappointed with the texture of the plums after I cut them open, but I went ahead. Cooking them improved them, and the cake was delicious! I will make it again.

  172. NeNe

    I agree with everyone else: this torte is so simple and so good. Made this past weekend and we loved it. I love it because it’s so easy to put together. After making the batter, I thought my pan might be too big because there really isn’t a lot of batter. However, the finished product was so beautiful and perfect. Our dinner guest thought I bought it from a patisserie. I wish I had taken a picture.

  173. Dominika

    This is truly a case where the whole is more than the sum of it’s parts. A-MA-ZING. It’s comforting, elegant, embarrassingly easy, and addictive. It’s sweet enough without being cloying. The fruit really does melt into “jammy puddles” like you say! It took almost 4 minutes to make it. And only a few more minutes to eat it all. At first, it doesn’t look like there’s enough batter…but it rises around the fruit just perfectly to create a really stunning dessert. I couldn’t find the Italian plums….so I used normal ones and they were fabulous. I will make this again and again. Thank you!!

  174. Janyll

    Deb, I’ve been aware of this recipe for so many years (and I’m sure I must have made it a few times, but at 62 there’s a lot of baking under my particular bridge, and I don’t recall everything I’ve ever tried). But I’m commenting because I can’t think of any other recipe–for baked goods or anything else–that has been as lasting and recurs as often as this one. Are you aware of any other classics like this, the kind that make you say “Oh , of course, that’s the _____ recipe!” as soon as you see it? The kind that thrills each new generation as they encounter it? Because if there are, I want to know about them! (I hope you realize I’m not talking about anything that involves a can of cream soup or Jello, though they have their place…)

  175. Kristina

    This is a terrific dessert, but mine did stick to the pan. I took this to a potluck and I saw people not taking a slice because they couldn’t get it to come off. I will probably use parchment next time, but there will definitely be a next time!

  176. This is one of my go-to classics, and everyone looks forward to it when those Italian Prune Plums are in the stores. It is spectacular and so easy. It also freezes beautifully. Now that my college age daughter is baking, we have officially been making and loving this cake in my family for 3 generations! Thank you for sharing the (not so) secret recipe with people who have missed it.

  177. Rachel

    I scoured my grocery store and could only find canned plums – planning on draining them and rinsing them of the syrup before using them here – would that be okay? Please say yes.

    1. deb

      Rachel — I haven’t tried it with canned plums but why not give it a spin? You’ll probably want to drain them really, really, really well (like, even on towels) and also to reduce the sugar here.

  178. Joanne

    Fabulous simple recipe! I have made this three times since you posted it. One caveat: it looks much better if you place the plums cut side up. It’s the more classic way to do it.

  179. Jenny

    I’ll be making my 4th (and possibly 5th, if I decide to freeze #4) cake since you posted today – there are still plums at our markets in Buffalo, NY! I haven’t been able to pass them by since the first cake. The only downside? My boyfriend eats it ALL while I’m at work! Thanks for bringing this recipe to light for those of us who didn’t yet have it in our recipe boxes, Deb.

  180. RuthDC

    Made this last weekend for a dinner party with my sister in law, after searching and searching for Italian plums, to no avail. Made it instead with black plums that were a little bigger than a golf ball. It smelled heavenly as it baked, and everyone had two pieces. We got 7 slices out of a 9″ springform pan. My husband hates fruit, and won’t eat it EVER, but he had seconds on this cake, and ate the remaining slice a day or so later. Will keep an eye out for Italian plums next year.

    Ps: I also lived in Alsace for a while and remember the tarte aux quetches fondly.

  181. Becki

    Made this cake today and it is terrific! I was traveling when this recipe was posted and seemed I had missed prune plum season on Oregon when I got home. Made me so sad, I couldn’t focus on baking with apples or pears or anything else. Found a few very ripe plums at a farm stand this week, so happy to see them!

    Anyway, I used whole wheat pastry flour and sucanat (used the whole cup) and generous sprinklings of Penzey’s Baking Spice instead of cinnamon. My cake is a lovely golden brown with a tender crumb. Looking forward to seeing how it tastes in the morning!

  182. Yvonne

    Delicious! Made this three days ago and it was incredible. I used red plums that I froze a few weeks ago (I cut them into thinner slices, but next time I will leave them thicker, and maybe add more), part brown sugar, and accidentally mixed the cinnamon into the batter. It looked darker than yours because of the sugar & cinnamon, but was SO GOOD. Even better the next day, just like you said!

  183. Tracy

    Here to comment before I forget – as the cake is baking in the oven right now! I didn’t have plums, so I followed one of your earlier reader comments and added orange zest, and topped it with sliced pears and cranberries. It smells amazing already. The batter is one of the best cake batters I’ve ever tasted! Can’t wait to eat it tomorrow. (Yes, I’m forcing myself to wait!) Thanks so much :-)

  184. MJ in Maryland

    Oh, my! I made this once already, the weekend after you posted it. I bought MORE plums today. I’m so excited. This is a fantastic cake, and so easy. :)

  185. Renee

    I’ve got your cookbook (which you signed at Waterstone’s in London for me- it was great to meet you!) and have yet to have time to read it.

    BUT I did find time to make this cake. Like your fabulous Mom’s Apple Cake, this is a beauty that I’ll be pulling out down the track again and again. It was delicious served with some lemon curd flavoured Green yoghurt.

    My Mum always has masses of surplus nectarines and peaches come (Australian) Summer, and I think this would be beautiful with them.

  186. Pea

    Just made this (still warm!) with 130g sugar and an extra tablespoon sprinkled on top (I routinely halve the sugar on most recipes). Not one bit less delicious than the 150g sugar version we destroyed in half an hour yesterday.

  187. I made a pretty similar cake a short while ago with plums and figs, when figs were still in season. I also added sour cream and ground hazelnuts to the batter, reduced the amount of sugar and glazed the fruit with plum jam once the cake was baked. It tasted great – moist, tender and nutty! But I like the golden colour of your cake, contrasting with the violet purple of the plums, and the grainy effect of the sprinkled sugar on top.

  188. Allyson

    I made this cake a few weeks ago… couldn’t find Italian plums but I figured regular would be fine, cut them open and they were mealy. Not a single drop of juice. I made the cake anyway (which took all of 10 minutes) expecting a flop and somehow it turned out amazing. My husband declared it to be his new favourite cake.

  189. I made this yesterday for dessert and it was so easy and so delicious. My plums were slightly past their best but that made no difference. Will definitely be making this again.

  190. I made this a couple of weeks ago and absolutely found it to be heavenly! My husband (who does not have a sweet tooth at all) also enjoyed it very much. Mind you, I had more torte than plum (I only had about 3-4 plums in the fridge at the time). Anyways, lovely recipe, I shared the 2nd-day delicacy with my friend and the moment I handed it over to her, she took a bite and she just couldn’t stop…although we were getting ready for class =P! Thanks for sharing this great recipe, definitely one of my new favorite autumn desserts!

  191. Jennifer

    Great recipe! For anyone who’s looking to perk up their sad, out-of-season supermarket plums – I added half a bag of cranberries, basically filling in the spaces between the plums. The tartness was great with the cake, and the red berries looked very pretty and made the cake seem a little more seasonal.

  192. Arielle

    I am so happy to see this recipe here. It has been a go-to staple in my family for generations ( I thought it was a family recipe until I saw the new york times article, lol). Its my favorite summer recipe, especially once the local peaches and plums are over-ripe, this I think is the best. Its also amazing with fresh local blueberries as well as rhubarb. We always add as much fruit that can possibly fit in what always seems like too little batter.

  193. elana

    ok, i feel stupid asking this but i can’t figure it out and i’m in the middle of thanksgiving planning and my brain hurts.

    how exactly does one defrost this (i’m going to make the cranberry/apple version)? in the fridge and then warm in the oven? on the counter? help!

  194. Annie

    A little late to posting this comment, but wanted to say that my husband made this for his work cake day and it went down an absolute treat (plus it was ridiculously easy to make – no stepping in required!). I also managed to sneak a slice and it was really delicious. Thanks for the recipe for those of us not US-based and unfamiliar with the New York Times recipes…

  195. SueinAK

    Made this for my mother-in-law’s birthday with sliced pears (2) and 1/2 cup cranberries. No other changes. We love the plum version, but this was delicious too.

  196. Rachel NZ

    I made this last night for a dinner party – usually I would test something before serving to guests, but I’ve learnt to trust you Deb! We can’t get the plums you suggest, here in New Zealand, so mine were a bit tart, but I just added a teeny bit more sugar on top and bingo! SOOO delicious. Thank you!

  197. Kris

    I can second what Rachel NZ says – before using your site, I never made anything for a dinner party that I hadn’t tried before, but pretty much everything I’ve made from your site has worked out exactly as you said it would! I have this in the oven now for my Game of Thrones party tomorrow night and I *swear* I’m not even going to taste it before taking it over there! I used 6 large plums, so I quartered them and still ended up with about 6 quartered them and ended up with about 6 leftover. It’s startlingly little batter for so much fruit, but i have no worries :)

  198. Donna

    Donna in Australia I made this today, to take to sewing class for morning tea. Fantastic recipe I just added a cup of yoghurt & lemon juice to the wet mixture before adding it to the dry ingredients. I also glazed the top with with jam straight after it came out of the oven. Thanks for this great recipe.

  199. justine

    I cannot get the center of this cake to bake! Its been in the over for 60 minutes now and it’s still all batter! Help!

  200. justine

    Thank you deb! I forgot to write back but yes they were super ripe. In the end the cake turned out wonderfully. I left it in the over for probably about 70 minutes in total. It was great. My husband loved it (it was a birthday cake for him)!

  201. Allyson

    Hi there,

    Do you think this would work if I used cupcake tins – if I were to cut down the time and slice the plums into quarters (or smaller)?


  202. Bonny

    I had forgotten how lovely this cake is. Right now the soft red and purple plums are in season. I used them, cutting them into six pieces and fanning them out on top of the batter. Heavenly.

  203. CJ

    I made this today with Italian plums and my plums sank all the way into the batter… you’d never know they were there from the top… haven’t tasted it yet, of course it smells wonderful, but I’m puzzled about the sinkage.

  204. Cedarglen

    This cake or torte was one of my late Grandmother’s (born 1896) regulars each season and on of the few recipes somehow got lost. I searched and searched, finally getting some help from a professional and the experts at King Arthur. Why could no one find it? Grandma called it “Prune Cake,” not Plum whatever! Since rediscovering this recipe a few years ago, and tweaking it with a few things from some of the related recipes, I make this cake/torte as often as I find suitable fruit available. Almost any plum will work well, but the smaller, strongly colored Italian Prune Plums (dark purple skin with off-yellow flesh is still the best.) I’ve also made it with blueberries and a combination of blueberries and plums. Baking time is important and one does not want to over-cook it; the usual Clean Knife test works fine. Simply to suit my own taste, I generally use 75% of required sugar and ~150% of required fruit. The extra fruit will extend the baking time by a few minutes. This cake/torte has easily become if not my all-time favorite, certainly in the Top Five. With a scoop of ‘nilla ice cream, I cannot imagine a better, more satisfying dessert and it is fun to relate the story behind my edition of Grandma’s Prune Cake. I’ve never tried to freeze it, but this year I will give it a try. Thank you for including this recipe and for the interesting story about its long history with the New York Times. With 309 other glowing comments, most from 2013, this is obviously a winner.

  205. Ouida Lampert

    Deb, do you – or any of your readers – know if this could translate well into a gluten-free cake? If so, would you/they use almond flour or another gluten free flour mix? I hope that someone has tried.

  206. Jane H

    This looks so good. My mom used to make a, I think she called it a conserve, a jam like delicacy. She used prune plums and it had walnuts, a little lemon peel and some golden raisins in it. I loved it, but cannot find her recipe. She used to make it especially for me this time of year. Yum!

  207. Lori

    Has anyone ever frozen this cake “raw” and then baked from frozen? I make these assembly line fashion, using the food processor, and it would be a lot faster if they could go directly into the freezer and just bake as needed. I have an apple/date cake recipe from the Once A Month cooking book that lets me do that, but I am unsure if the plums would hold up as well

  208. Jessica

    I’ve made this torte twice, once from the NY Times recipe, and once from this one, and each time it’s been a little too dry. With using your recipe, Deb, I waited a day, but still, dry. Any thoughts on the matter? I would love to keep making this, especially since it’s so easy and we have a Italian plum tree in our yard. Thank you!

    1. deb

      Jessica — Might you be packing your cups of flour a bit heavily? Regardless, you might try dropping the flour by 2 tablespoons to increase the moisture in the crumb next time. Good luck!

  209. Brooke

    Deb! I’ve never left a comment before though I’ve read your blog for an age. Just wanted to drop you a note to say Thank You! The kids and I have been pulling shiro plums from our ‘plum forest’ and as I often do I googled for a recipe. When I saw you had a plum cake recipe I quit looking. That’s what I so appreciate about your bog– I know you put the effort in to find, tweak, or create beautiful and delicious food that we readers can count on. I have never made a recipe from this site that didn’t turn out– and I’ve made many of them! Thank you so much for being a faithful resource for me and my band of hungry children. They are indebted to you even if they don’t know it yet!

  210. Kristin

    This cake is delicious and so easy! But, like #308, after two tries, my plums sank as well. The first time I used a 8″ pan and figured it was the result of too much batter (used Santa Rosa plums that time — yum!) This time with a 9″, my plums were a tiny bit smaller than italian prunes (used 13 french prunes). Perhaps that is it? It see they do sink a bit based on your pictures, but the batter is coming up completely over the plums on mine. Taste is still wonderful, just not as pretty. Am I handling the batter for too long? Not long enough? Just need to try with larger plums? Anyone else have a tip?

  211. L from G

    This cake was delicious! I made it in a 24 cm springform pan (we Germans don’t do Inches) and managed to leave it overnight. My in-laws also liked it a lot. The plums sank in almost completely, but it still looked good and tasted even better. Thank you!

  212. Dolores

    My daughter alerted me to this recipe- she has made it twice in the last two weeks because it is that delicious.
    I have to agree with her, the cake looks beautiful and so enticingly yummy, that I want to eat it right now-but I am waiting to slice into it until tomorrow since I have guests for lunch.

  213. Laura

    I came across Italian plums at the farmers’ market last week, which triggered my memory of seeing this recipe. I had never tried this type of plum before. I tasted a piece before cooking and it was incredibly tart, so I was scared. The cake turned out wonderfully though, and my boyfriend thought I was lying when I told him how easy his birthday cake was. I will be making this cake again and again.

  214. Sara

    Hi, question as a US baker now in the UK – how can I make this in a fan oven? Any tips on timing/temperature? THANK YOU. We are having a ‘british bake off’ in my office and I’m going to go for plum cake!

  215. Nicola

    Hi Deb, so I have now made two of these in one week. One got eaten as a cake with coffee and the second is going to be eaten as dessert with custard. My husband just loves it. As I am based in the UK I used a very English plum, the Victoria and it worked brilliantly – thank you.

  216. Andrea Harris

    Hi Deb. I had some nice Italian plums, but no real reason to make an entire torte. My daughter discovered a stash of the brown/gold baking papers. I used your recipe ( cut in half) with some tweaks (coconut oil for butter and almond extract added to dough). The result was really wonderful. Thanks for always inspiring me.

  217. Dorothy

    This recipe looked so delicious, I had to try it. In my excitement, I thought I would toss in about 90g of ground almonds, because I had some leftover, and a 1/4 TSP of almond extract ( after the eggs, before the dry ingredients.) It may be blasphemous to this well loved recipe, but I have to say it was frangipane-y, and extra moist, and delicious. I don’t know if you would need to up the flour or adjust other ingredients to make it work better, but I have never been so happy to be a bit impulsive. Next time I promise to try the proper recipe!

  218. Beata

    This is amazing. Made it today, half is already gone. I am gonna save this recipe and try with apples and rubarb and…who knows what else. Plum cake is a tradition in my family but thus one is best. Thank you!

  219. Holly

    I bought way too many plums at Costco and had an impromptu dinner party this evening so I looked through your plum recipes and found this one – so easy and quick to make and the result was so tasty. I was a bit sad my guests ate it all because I wanted some leftovers for breakfast. I will have to make it again and not invite anyone over…..

  220. Shevaun

    I just got big bag of these by trading a big bag of apples. So now the pressures off for apple recipes, but its on for plums – what the heck do you make with plums? This. Thank you! Now I wont feel guilty every time I look in the kitchen fridge. And the ‘beer’ fridge. And the fruit basket… (And thankfully I saved some apples for the sunken apple cake!)

  221. Sonia Valente

    I made this cake last week. Didn’t find italian plums, used round ones. It was de-li-cious!!!
    Thank you for the recipe and giving the measurements in grams, it’s so much easier for us in Europe.

  222. alpelican

    Made this last night with a mix of black and red plums – could only fit 6 plums in the springform, but now I can make a second cake! – and added an extra egg, inspired by your sunken apple honey cake. It was amazing. Next time I’ll make it with just 2 eggs, though, as per your perfect recipe. Definitely adding this to the fall rotation.

  223. Beth

    I cannot say enough about this lovely cake! I could not find my springform pan, so I baked it in my cast iron skillet last Sunday. It came out just right, with that slightly crunchy yet tender topping formed by the cinnamon sugar. Thank you for sharing this- I have my 2nd cake in the oven now and the house smells heavenly.

  224. Sharon

    This turned out fantastic! I couldn’t be happier with it. I had just picked more super ripe plums than i knew what to do with. As I frantically searched the internet for plum recipes, I stumbled upon this one, and I am very glad I did. I only had a 9×13 baking pan to work with, so I doubled the recipe and it worked well.I will definitely be making this again, as well as coming back to your website for others,

    Thank you for the simple and delicious recipe!!!

  225. MR in NJ

    Important: where recipe says “cream butter and sugar together,” it would be helpful to say: “cream butter and 1 cup of the sugar together”–and if the sugar listing said “divided,” or the sugar for sprinkling were listed separately, as in Burros’s original.

    The first time I made this, I used all the sugar in the batter and had to add more on top. It was too much, esp. when I looked up the original and saw that the batter contained only 3/4 cup of sugar. With today’s general interest in reducing rather than increasing sugar, the smaller amount may be preferable to some. I’m doing that right now with the cake that’s in the oven, smelling great! (For about half of the 1 cup of sugar I used coconut sugar from Trader Joe’s…we’ll see how that works.)

    The Burros version, as reprinted on the Times website…

    …lists all the toppings/sprinklings (lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon) at the end of the recipe, not even specifying how much to use (although the recipe instructions say “Sprinkle with (about) 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.” I used the typo-1 T. last time and it was ‘way too much; 1 tsp is plenty even for cinnamonvores.

    Also, the Burros version says that you can use an 8-, 9-, or 10-inch springform. I prefer the smallest one because the cake gets a little higher that way and each serving is a little more impressive. Good for a small family or just one person, too!

    And finally, the Burros version says to bake for 1 hour, which is closer to my own experience.

  226. Jessica

    Deb, there’s a lot written here about freezing the torte. I have mine in the freezer from September, and wondering the best way to defrost it. In the fridge, and maybe then in the oven to warm it up?
    Thank you!

  227. Jessica

    Deb, just wanted to let you know that the torte came out perfect this time, with using 2 T less flour and letting it sit a day before freezing. Finally! Can’t wait to make it again. Thanks for your suggestions.

  228. I made this cake last week, the day before it was to be eaten – as per your suggestion – and it was delicious! So simple and so spectacular! Just the sort of cake I love. I’m going to have another go at it tomorrow but instead of plums I’m going to try nectarines. Or cherries. Can’t decide, maybe both, depending on what’s at the market. Love your blog.

  229. Francis

    Deb, this recipe looks wonderful. Everyone’s comments really have me excited to make it for my wife for Valentine’s Day. Do you think that seedless red grapes would work? I have a whole bunch of them that are on the verge of going bad. Or maybe a combination of grapes and peaches? Thanks!

  230. Danika

    I made this and took it into work to share. It absolutely brought the house down and was so pretty people initially thought I bought it from the local boutique bakery. I have an abundance of plums from a couple of trees in my backyard and this was the best use for them EVER :) Thank you – I will make this many, many times again.

  231. deb

    Francis — I haven’t tried but I suppose as long as they bake until they’re totally collapsed and juicy, it could work. And use a lot. This cake is almost as much plums as cake batter, as I hope the photos show.

  232. Heather

    For those wondering if frozen plums work, they do. I just made it with plums that I halved and froze in the summer. I thawed them because I figured they’d give off a lot of liquid. And they did. They also turned pretty mushy, and I wasn’t sure this was going to work. But I forged ahead, since when you use them fresh they turn very soft and mushy in the final cake. It turned out very tasty!

  233. NancyB

    I love this cake made with the Italian plums so when I realized that I had 2 1/2 gallon bags of pitted tart cherries left over from last summer, I thought why not? It’s every bit as good with the sour cherries. So good that over the weekend I made 7 tortes to deliver to lucky friends and will now make more for both DH and my work places. A classic recipe that keeps on giving!

  234. Bahb

    In my 80 years of enjoying desserts, I must say I never had one I enjoyed as much as this Plum Torte. I used 12 quite small Santa Rosa plums, because that’s what came in my CSA box this week, and used my only spring form pan, which is 8 inches. Santa Rosa plums are clings, not so easy to cut precisely in half, but the flavor was outstanding and everything else about the adventure was so easy, I will be making this again and again. I don’t think there is a way to improve upon this perfection, but I will try to find the Italian plums anyway and see which I need to buy in quantity so I can freeze a bunch for Winter.

    Many thanks for your dedication…..I was a terrible cook until you came into my life!

  235. Bahb

    Just in case anyone cares, this torte made with peaches is good, but not as great as with plums. It freezes but flattens out so needs whipped cream or ice cream to bulk it up some. Adding an extra teaspoon of baking powder to a doubled recipe and baking it in a 9X13 pan yielded 9 servings that were a tiny-bit more like cake than torte.

    I’ve also made it with Pluots, every bit as fabulous as the Santa Rosa plums. I’ve “combed the earth” for Italian Plums and am quite surprised that California is famous for all kinds of unique produce but doesn’t have Italian Plums.

  236. Lilllian

    I grew up in Sunnyvale, and we had a plum tree in the back yard that produced plums like no others I’ve ever had. The flesh was a deep, dark purple, and I’ve been looking for them ever since I moved out at 18. I’ll try this recipe with Italian plums, but someday…..

  237. Mary

    i will make this tomorrow with pluots I bought at the farmers’ market. I also have some husk tomatoes/ground cherries I am considering sprinkling around on top. Could be interesting. ;)

  238. Made this yesterday and it was everything promised and more! So delicious. One question, this took 20 to 25 minutes more in cooking time. My oven is (generally) very reliable as far as baking times go(within 5 minutes) . Has anyone else experienced this?

  239. Katrina

    If I forgot the lemon juice (!) and it is baking (right now) (!) do you think adding some lemon zest to the top when it comes out of the oven would be a nice alternative? :/

  240. ediakaran@gmail

    I just made this cake with apriums (cross between an apricot and a plum) and it turned out delicious. I sprinkled a bit of delmarva sugar and fresh cinnamon that I brought from Turkey and whoa! the few parts where you can actually have a piece of cake without apriums were a bit caramelized. Very interesting cake indeed. Thanks for the recipe :)

  241. Jenn

    Just made this–IT IS AMAZING! My daughter thinks this is the best cake I’ve ever made. I had bigger black plums so cut them in half then thirds (so sixths), so I think the were closer together than the halves and the cake took longer to cook (1 hour). But OMG, so crazy good! Hopefully we’ll have some left tomorrow!

  242. Crystal

    I rarely bake, but I bought a bunch of Italian plums and the bag had a prune plum cake recipe in the back and I decided to do an online search to see if there was a better recipe! Voila. Smitten Kitchen. I do have a minor question hopefully someone can answer soon since I am baking it in a bit. When I cook the cake on the rack, so I first take off the side of the springform or just cool it as is and then take the side out? Very basic question for bakers. I have only used a springform pan to make cheesecake and I think it cooler with the sides on. I don’t remember. Thanks.

    1. deb

      Crystal — For springforms, at the point when a standard cake pan recipe says to flip it out of the pan, I just spring open the sides. And, if there is parchment lining the pan, you can usually then slide it onto a cooling rack.

  243. Marina

    Just made this and loved it!
    And I just wanted to tell you I’ve made many of your recipes and they never failed, were always tasty and always easy to make.
    Keep up the good work!
    Greetings from the Netherlands :)

  244. Pia

    I just made it last weekend and it was delicious!
    Because I’m trying to make my toddler eat as much tasty fiber as possible, I made it with almost 100% whole wheat. I used a 10 inch spring form, and increased the amount of batter and prune plums. I used 1 cup of white whole wheat flour and a little less than 1/2 cup of almond flour. I also added 1/4 cup of sour cream, a splash of milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 3 eggs, little less than 1 cup of sugar and substituted the additional butter with apple sauce. Baked it according to recipe instructions (roughly 60 minutes), and let it stand overnight. It was gone within a few hours. Thank you, Deb!

  245. Heather

    This is my all time favourite cake. And I love that it is so easy. I also tried freezing it (I cut it up and wrapped individual pieces so I could have a treat every now and then). It freezes beautifully. I made another and froze it. And I am thinking of making another…and another…until plums are gone!

  246. Lauren

    Nancy: I’ve had the same issue – I’ve made this cake twice this week, the second time with a thermometer in the oven to make sure the temp was accurate, and both times it needed to cook for about 65-70 minutes. Regardless, the end result still tasted FANTASTIC (thanks Deb – this is being filed away as a ‘go-to’ for potlucks, dinner parties, and plum season in general).

  247. Helen

    I’m also wondering about fresh figs. Made this recipe tonight as written, and the torte is cooling on the counter right now and I already know this recipe’s another keeper.

  248. Leslie

    Keeper! Awesome and dead easy. The plums I had at home were large so I needed to give the cake a little extra time in the oven. Next time I’ll likely get the smaller plums Deb suggests as I found the edge was, how shall I say it, a little extra firm. Delicious in any case. Thanks Deb.

  249. Di

    I just have to share – I made this cake on Friday for a family dinner. My dad, who is 75 years old, took one bite and said – “This is the cake my grandmother used to make!”
    Thank you for helping me give him those memories.

  250. Lauren

    This is one of my all-time favorite cakes. I snagged some prune plums the day they hit the store and made this delightful torte for a family get-together. Big hit. Everyone wanted a second piece and the 6 of us devoured it all. Whenever I make this torte, people always tell me it’s the best cake they’ve ever had. It’s hard to believe that plums could trump chocolate, but this dessert makes a strong argument.

  251. Michelle C.

    Hi Deb,
    My daughter just had a slice and says the cake is delicious but my plums also sank to the bottom……Any idea why? I am a seasoned baker but I have no idea what happened. Thanks!

  252. Charlotte in Toronto

    I’ve been making this for years and just today realized you have included it on your site. It’s truly delicious. Good job for spreading the word about this deceptively simple but fantastic dessert. It deserves all the admiration it gets.

  253. Terrie

    I made this for the hubby this week. He said I should have made it when we were dating, I’d have probably gotten a bigger ring. :) It was that good!

  254. Helen

    I’m reporting back on the figs – they tasted good, but were not as juicy as the plums. I baked one with half mission figs and half plums to do a comparison. The plums tasted much richer, too. I prefer the plum version.

  255. Erin

    I can’t believe it took this long, but I’m so glad I finally made this! It is, of course, incredible. Thanks for sharing with all your personal touches.

  256. Rupi D

    This cake is surprisingly delicious because I thought it would be too simple to be interesting. I waited too long in the season so had to use regular plums but it was so easy and great texture, can’t wait to make it again. Thanks Deb!

  257. Jeanne

    Hi Deb, just made this cake for the first time and it is deliciious. It is like the plums were transformed in the baking to something better! Mine sank to the bottom, but flavor was not compromised. My question is whether you think other fruits would work in this recipe–peaches? Blueberries? Apples if pre-cooked or somehow softened up first? Thanks so much–just found your blog (LOVE IT) and have already made the marsala mushroom pasta and the dill tuna –both delicious! Thank you!!

  258. Anne

    The plums are at the ready but I had apples to use first. I chopped some into dice and stirred in then laid some slices on top.. Yum. Or so I gather as it was devoured before I got a look in!

  259. Anya

    I’ve made this cake twice in the last three days (because it is soo good, and because the stone fruit in Ontario this year has been phenomenal). I’m finding it very sticky on the bottom so that it’s hard to remove from the pan. It’s cooked through and the side pops off no problem… Do you just leave it on the bottom of the springform, or does it normally form a bit more of a crust on the bottom? Maybe I should leave it in the oven a bit longer next time (which may or may not be tomorrow).

  260. Adrianne

    I served this to a party of 8 for Rash Hashanah last night. It’s sweet, tart, soft, jammy and a bit crispy. On day 2 we very carefully moved it to a cake plate with the use of 3 wide spatulas. I was a little nervous that it hadn’t cooked all the way because the spatulas did not come out clean, but when I finally cut into the cake it was perfect. The juices of the plums had soaked into the cake making it very moist. Next year I’ll need to make at least 2, people were going back for 2nd, 3rd and 4th helpings.

  261. Jennie

    I was given a big bag of plums from my friend’s tree and I knew just how to use them after seeing this recipe a few weeks ago – thank you thank you thank you!!! It turned out beautifully and my family of 5 polished it right off.

  262. Leslie

    Hi, I first tried this a few weeks ago and my fifth cake is in the oven now.
    Anya, I have been buttering the bottom of the pan lightly as Deb suggest as an option but I also add a round of parchment to the bottom of the pan. Once cooled I shuffle the cake to a cake plate or disposable cake board for presentation and pull out the parchment. Love this recipe! Thanks again Deb.

  263. ElaineSL

    I have made this cake four times previously, to great acclaim. Tonight I made it again, and it is a wonderfully-smelling, bubbling mess. All the additional baking time in the world will never turn this into a cake. Even if my plums were especially juicy, this time the recipe let me down. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

  264. Irene

    I made this cake last weekend, doubling the quantities, for a bbq we were invited to. It disappeared in a matter of minutes! Definitely a keeper :-)

  265. ElaineSL

    Since I can’t delete my Sept. 18 comment above, let me add, that I’ve made this again, and as all times before except for once, it was both easy and wonderful. People ask me to make this again. I must have been half asleep when I had the failure. Trust this recipe!

  266. Ally

    Deb, thank you for featuring this recipe on your blog! It really is a great recipe — so lovely in the Fall. You are the best!

  267. Deb

    I made a second one, using the full tablespoon of cinnamon again, froze it and then served it a week later. It was as great as the one I made earlier. This cake has received more compliments than any thing I ever baked!
    I will remember this recipe come next fall for sure.

  268. Carol

    I’ve made this as written, using red plums from the grocery, and it is divine! My husband and I both love it, and it was a hit at a Rosh Hashanah dinner last month. My one change is that I bake it in a 10 inch pie pan and it’s done in under 45 minutes. Thanks Deb for this wonderful recipe!

  269. Wendy

    I recently found the SK blog and I AM completely smitten! Have tried several recipes, including this plum torte, and all have been terrific. My husband is a frustrated farmer and has planted over 100 fruit trees and is now raising bees in our suburban yard. I was looking for a recipe for the Italian plums and love this one so much I’ve made it three times. It does freeze extremely well. I wrapped it in foil and a freezer bag and even my picky husband who does not like baked goods that have been frozen was impressed.

  270. Laura

    Oh wow! I made this for this about a month ago when I could still find plums at the supermarket and it was a definite winner. So easy and so incredibly tasty. I completely failed to follow your excellent advice and tucked right in after it came out of the oven (though you are totally right, it was *even* better the next day).

    I recently tried making it with blueberries as I couldn’t find any more plums for sale. That cake was also very good, but not as amazing as the plummy version. I can’t want until next plum season so I can make this again!

  271. Peter

    Hello! Love your work. I have a question – my tortes turn out with a perpetually soggy base. It’s still delicious , but it’s impossible to lift it out of the springform in neat slices and I see from your photos, a nicely browned and crunchy looking base.

    Any tips on what I might be doing wrong?

  272. Meredith

    This has become my go-to party/dinner invite bring along dessert! I use frozen plums from last summer, make it the day before, and bask in the praise heaped upon me at the gathering. It’s so easy to make and so deal lions. I also share the recipe with all who inquire.

  273. pessy

    i easily double this recipe. its a good cake. i initially found it online when i visited a friend with a plum tree and every year she asks me to make it when i spend a weekend during plum season. she is dairy free so i did it alwasy with olive oil and coconut oils, but now i make this at home with butter. i cut the sugar in half and its not missing a bit of sweetness. i now understand the big deal over this recipe!

  274. Elvira

    I’m getting a lot of plums in my delivery veggie/fruit box, googled and found this plum cake. it was amazing and so easy! I’m making it again with the next batch of plums I get. thank you!

  275. Vegemama

    I always use this recipe when opting for non vegan option, with apricots, plums any kind, pears and apples:). Plum version is a winner but all are good. Thanks.

  276. Kat

    Ahhhhhh I spotted good plums for the first time this summer and immediately wanted this cake!! It’s so perfect. I’m with Deb in preferring the tbsp of cinnamon and because I’m Finnish, a little bit of cardamom is necessary too. (The cardamom gets added to the cake itself…maybe like 1/4-1/2 tsp. It makes it kind of like my mummo’s mustikkapiirakka but with pluuuuums). Otherwise, DO NOT MESS WITH THIS, IT’S THE BEST.

  277. Laurie Jarboe

    Our family embraces this cake like none other (well except Jewish Apple Cake). We had to rename it “Plum Doodie Cake” because my 5 year old granddaughter Lucy had some issues that required prune juice which was not received well. As a grandmother I had to come up with another solution and even though the Italian plums are not quite in season I substituted purple Pluots and everybody is very happy.

  278. Laurie Jarboe

    This is a family favorite. It isn’t Italian plum season quite yet so I am using purple Pluots with great success. We have renamed this “Lowie’s (that’s my grandma name) Plum Doodie Cake” because my five year old granddaughter was prescribed prune juice for digestive issues and she thought it was disgusting and gross. This delicious torte was much more palatable and hopefully medicinal as well. For the rest of the family we just love it.

  279. Naomi

    We discovered the plum trees in the park down the street are bursting with fresh plums, so I made this tonight. It’s so good! My little one was desperate to eat way more than he should of this special “baaaa” (bread). I didn’t have a springform, so I used a 9″ glass pie dish with parchment underneath and hoisted it out once it cooled off a bit. Worked beautifully!

  280. Leslie

    I made this quite a few times last summer and fall and friends and family are prompting me now with “it’s plum season” and a wink. Easy and delish! Thanks Deb.

  281. elainesl

    DO follow Deb’s advice to make this a day in advance–there will be a huge difference in flavor and moisture. I compromise on the cinnamon by using a scant two teaspoons. I usually add a tsp of vanilla or a half tsp of Fiori di Sicilia to the batter–adds another dimension of taste, I think.

  282. Sylvia

    Made this torte today yummy. My husband is a not a cake couldn’t eat it quick enough, and also thought it delicious. Thank you.

  283. Michaela

    I would just like you to know that I came across this recipe while lazily browsing your blog before bed – at 1:30am. It’s now 1:55am, the torte is in the oven, and I’m trying not to think exactly how long it is till my alarm clock goes off in the morning. We didn’t even have plums but the farm-fresh miniature apricots will do just as well, I think.

  284. eleanor

    I have been making this cake for about 10 years with apples–sometimes with pears or peaches, once with cherries. If using apples, slice them thin and arrange in tight concentric circles (4-5 apples, depending on size), keeping the ratio of fruit to batter high. Always use lemon juice and cinnamon and sugar on top!

  285. The Other Lisa

    This is the best! I have made it with plums, peaches, apricots, blueberries, and cherries. It always turns out perfectly and I get tons of compliments. We usually eat it for breakfast. 😀

  286. John Pearce

    Another annoying recipe with no units! Cups are non-standard outside the US and very frustrating for the rest of the world to measure with idea what you mean :(

    1. deb

      I don’t understand what you are saying. This recipe has weights in grams. As for other recipes on the site that do not, all you have to do is ask. With 1100+ recipes in the archives it is a huge project to get all converted that have not been done already. I’m doing them slowly and on an as-requested basis, so if you ever find one you’d like me to do ASAP, just leave a comment and I will get to it first.

    2. Snarky

      John… Clearly your capable of using the Internet- Google conversions are easy & readily available — but on your big boy apron! Lol

  287. I just bought my plums – can’t wait to make this and impress my sister-in-law. I will be making Friday morning, and getting in a car for a few hours. Should I leave the cake on the bottom part of the spring form (inside a cake carrier), or should I remove it from that? It seems it would add stability, and getting “soggy” does not seem a problem here.


      1. It transported very well – I made duct tape bubbles on the bottom of the cake carrier, and pushed the spring form base down on those so it didn’t slide around the carrier,

  288. Not only is this recipe extremely easy, it is also delicious. I didn’t sift the dry ingredients and used my Kitchenaid to do the heavy lifting. I wasn’t able to wait and served it warm with whipped cream. Wonderful!

    My grocery store called these plums ‘prune plums’.

    I’m now eating leftovers for breakfast….

  289. Kim

    The cake is perfect as is; and you don’t need to change a thing~ however you can easily tweak this to your own particular taste. This is what I changed for my family. Reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup. Added a t of vanilla & 2 t of fresh lemon zest to the batter (had the lemon anyway, so hate not using it’s zest) I did butter & flour the sides & bottom of my non-stick springform pan. We topped the cake with 1/2 t of cinnamon 2T brown sugar & 3 T rolled oats (a fake struddle topping, I didn’t add extra butter for struddle topping because I was afraid the cake wouldn’t set right; after baking I think it would’ve been fine) we wanted this as a breakfast cake. I highly suggest adding lemon zest to the batter it really added amazing mild lemon flavor. My pan fit exactly 24 halfs & my cake test came out clean at 50mins~ done perfectly, plated easily looked EXACTLY like the picture. It didn’t make it to breakfast; I’ll be making another today.

    1. kim

      Made it again today ~ same as I did above with the following changes~ my plums needed to be used~turned out so perfect last time (and I’m a horrible baker) that I felt comfortable tweaking more for our family taste. I again added a splash of vanilla to the batter, & the zest of 1/2 a large lemon. I tossed the halved plums fresh lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon (I think this helps the plums weep into the cake) I’m sure it was more that 2t, but I just tossed the fruit in it, the left over juices I didn’t add to the cake (but I think I will next time) the plums are the best, I overcrowded it & got a total of 14 plums on top. I then covered it with oatmeal strudel topping (oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter & flour) with the extra fruit & topping I needed to cook it an additional 5 mins for the toothpick to come out clean (55 min) it’s perfection.
      NEXT time:
      I think I might add poppy seeds to the batter ~ but that’s just my Russian heritage peeking through

  290. mary anne

    Oh men..what can I say. Made it the other night for the first time and I even doubled the recipe as I wanted to bring some to work. No luck at all. My family could not resist eating it and almost gone the following day. Nothing for people at work. For sure will be making it again this week. Thanks Debbie.

  291. Maria

    I made this cake with pluots instead of plums (but I’ve made it with plums before!) and it turned out well too! I love this cake, so easy to make! I think if you wanted to, you could play with the amount of sugar and it would still be sweet enough.

  292. Michelle

    I just made this for my family. So easy and soooo delicious! I used a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon. I’m sure a teaspoon or a tablespoon would be equally great.

  293. Laurie

    Your description of this cake made me swoon, and I’m happy to report it is as wonderful as decribed. I had only a lime in the bin so I subbed that for lemon. I was distracted by a phone call and added the cinnamon and lime juice to the batter. Oops! I sprinked more juice as directed over the top with the sugar and baked it in a 9-inch square pan lined with a piece of parchment. So good!

      1. alisonsalcedo

        I just made this in a 9-in cake pan and it was deep enough for the cake, and I thought about using a pie pan but think that would be too shallow. I would highly recommend a springform pan if you have one (and if mine was not packed away in boxes upon boxes) just to make cutting it that much easier. It is one of the best things I’ve made and it was so fun to make with kids because it’s such a simple cake!

  294. Made it to take to my sister in law for a weekend visit. It appeared for morning grazing and was great. The hardest part was not eating it when it came right out of the oven.
    The plummy goodness was sort of like a wonderful thick jam.

  295. rowsurfread

    This was FANTASTIC! I made one last night and our dinner guest was so entranced I sent the rest home with him … on the agenda to make another (with backyard plums) today.

  296. Jo-Ann Hillis (B.C. Canada)

    Just made this for the first time last week, and made it again a couple of days later. I’ve also passed along your website to five friends just this passed week, as I wanted to enthuse them about using up the 60-70lbs of plums I’m trying to get rid of (oops, I mean share;) We have a very prolific tree in our backyard.
    Great recipe! I have frozen 12 bags of 12 plums each, so I will be ready to make this torte all winter. I’m assuming I will have to thoroughly thaw the plums before using? I don’t worry about that when using bluberries in a recipe, but thought with the plums maybe I should?

  297. Megumi

    hi i like all of your recipes but this one became my best favourite! made for my first time last weekend and it was just fantastic! can not believe how simple the process is and taste this good. will definitely make again and again. i just wanna know if i can use cake flour instead of all purpose flour for this recipe? i wanna make this in japan sometime but they use cake flour for baking and i don’t think i can get all purpose easily there. i would be really appreciate if you can help me! thank you :)

    1. Caitlin

      I used to live in Japan and I found the white flour (cake or all-purpose) there was somehow lighter or softer than the flour I was accustomed to in Canada. My recipes from home often needed a little extra flour in Japan. Perhaps someone has a more scientific explanation, but I would say maybe add an extra 2Tbs (Ou-saji) flour and see how it goes. Good luck!

  298. Janice

    I just made this last night and followed the recipe exactly. I decided to try with 1t of cinnamon and 1T of sugar on the top. I bought the prune plums last week, and life kind of got away….so they were very ripe and I figured they’d be plenty sweet. Mine had to bake for over an hour, but that could be because I had the Springform pan on top of a stoneware tray in case anything leaked. As recommended, I let it sit before eating it.

    I tried some this morning and it is really good!! I loved how squishy the prune plums were….super easy to cut. I’ve never had prune plums, and the tart of them was yummy! Not too tart, but just a little hint of it, wrapped in the sweet dough. I love that this recipe is more fruit than dough!

    I’ll definitely be making this again! If there are more prune plums at my grocery store next time I go, I will probably make it again and stick it in the freezer for some future treat.

  299. Lynn

    Thanks so much for finding and printing this recipe. My entire family remembers my mother’s plum torte, but I did not have the recipe until I found it on your blog. My mom loved Elegant But Easy and always read Marion Burros’ columns. I read it and immediately recognized it as her plum torte. I plan to make it for the holidays as a surprise for my family. I am printing the recipe so everyone can take it home and a little memory of my mom!
    Thanks again….

  300. EL

    My mother used to make this cake and now I do too. I learned from her to deviate from the recipe by using as many plums as we could fit on the top of the cake. Think of it this way — If one plum is a center of caramelized plummy jamminess then don’t you want as much as you can get? And unlike some other cases where too much is too much, that isn’t the case here. So load up! Also you get more caramelization as well as more plums (keep in mind that they shrink a bit when they cook) if the plums are placed cut side up on the cake (which is the way that European cakes of this type are generally done. And no, I’ve never noticed that they dried out too much when I do this. This cake can be made with other stone fruit such as apricots, small peaches and nectarines too.

  301. Susan

    I wish I’d made this sooner – delicious! I was worried that maybe I should push the plums into the batter even though it didn’t say to do so, but there’s no need – the cake comes right up and covers them. I used a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon and I think next time I’ll do one teaspoon in the batter itself plus one sprinkled on the top.

  302. Lynne

    Loved reading the comments. I recently made this gluten free and I thought it came out great. Used half gluten free flour and half almond flour. Added almond extract and omitted the cinnamon. Decreased sugar to 9 T. Thinly sliced apples and pluots that were tossed in lemon zest and a bit of sugar and fanned on top of the batter. Going to make it again for Rosh Hashanah and serve with honeyed whipped cream.

  303. cassiekveatch

    I made this yesterday for dessert today and it was delicious! the perfect plum cake (and super easy which was great!). Thank you!

  304. lauraperlman

    Just wanted to chime in that I made this completely as written in a standard Lodge cast iron frying pan. We’re in the middle of packing to move and my springform pan was already stowed. I buttered the cast iron, put parchment in the bottom and buttered the parchment too, just for extra insurance.

    Turned out GORGEOUS.

  305. Christine S

    This was soooo good! My husband and I devoured half of the cake in one sitting. Please make this, you won’t regret it. It is so easy to make and so delicious!

  306. Stephanie

    Absolutely delicious! I did resist eating any until day two as recommended and we are now finishing it on day four (still yummy). I say this even though I made some modifications….I made it in a ten inch springform pan because that is all I have, so the cake was not as deep. Next time I will increase the batter or bake in an 8 inch square pan. Because depth of batter was small for my large pan, I quartered the plums. Excellent excellent recipe and I will make this several times while the plums are available. Thank you for reviving a classic.

    1. deb

      Yes, absolutely. The only thing I find when doubling this in a 9×13 is that it’s harder, square footage wise, to fit all those plums on top. Do it anyway, even if they’re overlapped a little. Otherwise, if you’re a regular with this cake, you’ll notice that the proportions are off.

  307. Cara

    I was going through this to send to a friend since it’s such a fabulous recipe but holy crow, is that a Williams Carlos Williams reference in one of the photo captions!?! #strongwork

  308. Christie

    Deb, to make this with strawberries and rhubarb, would you recommend cooking down or sweetening the rhubarb before putting it in the batter?

  309. Jackie

    We love this soooo much and it is so easy to make. Have made it with regular plums and no one believed it wasn’t from the patisserie down the road. Today I am making it with blueberries…Thanks for making this available!!

  310. Kris

    My grandmother used to make a plum buckle. I made this for my dad today. It was fantastic! He said I would have made her very proud. This recipe is a KEEPER. After I cut the plums, I tossed them in a bit of sugar and lemon juice. Then I placed them on top of the batter and baked. Absolutely Wonderful!

  311. Masha

    I’ve made this recipe off of a different site before with some disappointing plums and was, predictably, disappointed. I just made it again because I ended up with 7 large, very ripe plums — so ripe that two burst before I even got home and I had to eat them.
    It is SO much better this time. I reduced the sugar slightly, judging by eye, and instead of cinnamon I used 1/3 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed. I just ate two pieces with ice cream and it was delicious. I think it will be very good to make again in early fall. Thanks for the recipe!

  312. Thank you for the reminder! I made this last year (GF, of course) and it was wonderful. My grandparents grew these plums, and though they never served this, it always reminds me of them and their beautiful garden.

  313. Michele O’Connell

    This looks so good! I happen to have an abundance of blueberries right now-would they be a suitable replacement for plums?

    1. Sally

      Hi, Marlene,
      I baked this cake using Trader Joe’s Gluten Free All Pupose flour and the texture was divine! In fact, I’m baking two today and using the gluten-free flour even though there’s no need.

    2. deb

      On this? Should work pretty well. If you do a word search in the comments for gluten, I think a lot of people have made it as such and can offer suggestions. (So sorry for the late response.)

  314. This cake is delicious! Its reputation as a seasonal classic is well deserved. The plums become jammy, the top is crisp, and the edges are chewy. I don’t have a springform pan, so I cooked it in a 10-inch skillet. I found that only 15 average-sized plum halves fit on the top. Though many people have reported success using other fruit, I would stick to stone fruit. Eager to try the recipe before plum season, I was disappointed by the blueberry version I made. Fortunately, the rave reviews convinced me to try again with the original fruit; it was a very different cake. I’ll be making this every year.

  315. Fiona

    today I tried out your recipe and the pluma dissapeared. What did I wrong? My cake is like…a cake with some plums lost inside. :-/ But I guess it will taste great..

    Kind regards from Germany.


    1. deb

      That’s correct. This style of cake is called a buckle — the fruit is “buckled” in by the cake. Some should show but most embed in the cake.

  316. Martien Halvorson-Taylor

    If you do substitute other fruit (or buy plums that are larger than “smallish”), how much fruit is needed (ie, in cups or weight)?

  317. Raluca

    This cake can’t be bettered. I often read recipes that use plenty of superlatives and learnt to be skeptical, since the odds are slim for people’s preferences to fully align. With this torte, I’m willing to bet most people would love it. It’s simple, moist, slightly crumbly and dizzyingly plummy. I’ll try the batter with late season apricots and maybe grated lemon peel, or perhaps add a few chopped roasted walnuts to the plum version, but I’m not really invested in how they turn out. I’ve already struck gold with this exactly as it is.

  318. InvisiblePlums

    I have made this many times and it’s always delicious. However, I am finding that each time is a sort of plum-roulette: sometimes it looks exactly like your photo, sometimes it is just flat on top and you wouldn’t know, from looking at it, that there are plums inside. I use the same kind of baking powder each time, and always go by weight, not volume… any ideas what’s going on?

    1. deb

      Hard to say. The cake is designed to rise up and mostly over the plums. It’s not an exact science; maybe some plums are heavier. Also, you’re not at a higher altitude, are you?

  319. Mayre

    I’ve made this 3 times now- first time in a cast iron pan with apples and it was good, second time I increased the batter by .5, used plums, and increased the baking time to about an hour. And the third time I switched to 100% white whole wheat flour (170g) and decreased the sugar by 1/4 cup. Of the 3, I think the third is our favorite and with the decreased sugar and www flour, it makes me feel less guilty eating it for breakfast!

  320. KH

    This cake is amazing… it turns out just like the picture on instagram, is simple to make and is adaptable to other fruits. It looks and tastes great with little effort. I didn’t make any changes to the recipe.

      1. Riva Kestenbaum

        hi! ive made this cake dozens of times but with the butter- how would you swap out the butter for the oil? What would be the cooking steps since the sugar and butter are creamed first?

        1. deb

          I’d just continue as written. It’s not going to get fluffy from whipping the sugar-oil but will otherwise work just fine.

  321. Dale

    Made with cherries and 1/4 t of almond extract…it was excellent. Everyone was happy. Actually have made it with peaches, blueberries and strawberries
    all have been delicious. My favorite desert…and so easy.

  322. Leslie Rogers

    When my Mom was dying I asked her, “would you like any of our old baking favs? Maple walnut cake, ginger cookies, date squares, oatmeal cookies?” Without hesitation she answered “plum cake” and I laughed because it was a new fav. Lovely dessert when all is well and, when eatting becomes challenging, it might just slip through.

  323. Calisson

    This recipe always gets raves. I find it works really well with blueberries, which are available over a longer period of time. For good measure I have taken to adding a 1.25″ slice of almond paste into the batter (I make the batter in the food processor). I always omit cinnamon, because to my tastebuds it detracts from everything, except buttery cinnamon rolls (I know that comment is sacrilegious to some folks).

  324. Gayle

    Although I am still waiting for the prune plums to arrive in the market, I’ve made this cake 3 times since late July. It was equally great with apricots, then with round purple plums, and finally with pluots. So, this amazing cake will happen yet again at my house this year. Perhaps multiple more times. It will be on my break-the-fast table for certain. Thanks for calling this for-the-ages recipe to my (and our) attention!

    As an aside, I made the recipe as written once, and twice doubled it, which baked up wonderfully in a 10″ springform.

  325. Amy Crawford

    So, I have been toying with the idea of how to make this with pumpkin. Do you think it would work to put pumpkin butter dolloped around? Or like a cooked down pumpkin pie filling ?

      1. Jan

        I asked around the neighborhood and scored a 9 inch soringform.
        It does not look quite the same as yours once cooked.
        I put the lemon juice and it kind of rolled to the edges.
        Looks like the cinnamon and sugar did not stick as well as your photo so there are collections of cinnamon on top.
        Guess we will see how it tastes tomorrow. It is cooling now. When cool enough I will take ring off and let it cool completely.

  326. Helen

    I’ve made this twice, but for some reason, mine never looks as pretty as yours because the plums completely sink into the batter. Is there a way to avoid this?

    1. deb

      It’s really the style of the cake that causes this — it’s a kind of buckle and the fruit is supposed to sink. Usually some is left exposed, but just a little. Are you using prune plums? Maybe they’re on the smaller side? Just spitballin’, as they say…

      1. Patricia

        I have been making this for years now. This year my plums have begun to sink. Twice already. Has anyone tried flouring them? I am not doing anything different at all.


        1. deb

          Plums are supposed to sink a bit here; it’s the style of cake. Flouring fruit has been found to not really make a difference in sinking (by me and more science-y bakers). The thickness of the batter is what controls sinking.

  327. Carol Cragoe

    This is unbelievably yummy! And yes it is better the next day. I cannot testify to the day after that as it’s all gone :-( I’m thinking of trying the next one with a few blackberries scattered amongst the plums. The only weird thing was how thinly you need to spread the batter, much more so than a normal cake. I thought I must have done something wrong and not made enough batter, but it rose really well and came out exactly like the picture in a 9″ springform pan. Thanks for this – and all your other recipes!

  328. Hillary

    I made this over the weekend with fresh plums from the farmers market, waited until the next day to eat it, and was underwhelmed. I followed the directions exactly, expect I used King Arthur Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. My plums sunk to the bottom, so the bottom of the cake seemed soggy. The flavor was nice. I might try again with regular AP flour, although then some of my family can’t eat it. Over the weekend I also made the cheesecake with berries on top and it was so perfect, this cake didn’t rise to that same level of perfection for me. This seemed more like a coffee cake to have with breakfast/brunch than dessert after a meal. Would be very interesting to make into individual muffins.

  329. gracedlee

    OMG…so easy and so GOOD! I used 2 ish tsps of cinnamon and waited til the next day to eat–it was perfect! Love this recipe and can’t wait to try with other fruits!!

  330. Sue B.

    I made this torte yesterday for the first time, and I’ve already added the recipe to my personal cookbook. It’s so easy and delicious! I’m not American, so I had no idea the recipe was so popular, but after trying it I completely understand. Thank you so much! :)

  331. Second time making this – last year I made a full batch in a spring form and took to a weekend event with my sister in law. I set out to do so today, and realized I lacked enough sugar, so I decided to make a half batch.

    I set up an 8″ cake pan with parchment paper but when I put the batter in I realized that pan was too big, picked up the parchment with the batter pooled on it, and slid into a mini Pyrex pie pan. I think it worked
    It is now on the counter, and I am wondering if my sister will like it or I should keep it for my co-workers, so many commitments, so few cakes…

  332. Melinda Stubbee

    I’m living in the UK and the volume of plums available now is enormous! I made this torte Friday night and we’ve had it for breakfast this morning (Sunday). Delicious and super easy to make.

    1. Melinda

      p.s. I cooked mine in an 8″ square pan. I cooked it for 45 minutes but it probably could have benefited from another five minutes or so in the oven. As others have experienced, the bottom of my torte was also quite wet.

  333. Iris

    Made this tonight! I have to admit that I couldn’t resist and ended up eating some of it still warm from the oven — I cant possibly imagine it will be any better tomorrow but I look forward to being proven wrong. I used tiny sweet Italian plums from the Union Square Greenmarket and baked it in a cake pan because my springform is mysteriously MIA. The only negative was that the bottom of the cake burned a bit, but the rest of it is juicy and moist – never had this happen before so chalking it up to a fluke.

    Going to see if I can get some more plums before they disappear into winter, and maybe try this with the greenmarket cherries I have pitted in my freezer……

  334. Teri c

    I have made this 2x so far after finding some nice looking prune plums. Didn’t change a thing except I’m GF so, used cup 4 cup flour. Perfect both times! Thanks so much!

  335. I want to make this but add almond paste. I think the flavours would go well together, and, well, I have almond paste. How do you recommend I do it? Replace some of the sugar I assume, but how much? And in what ratio? And add almond flour? Or replace some of the flour with almond flour?

    1. I used a 10″ springform and doubled the recipe. It worked just fine, extra baking time required, yada yada . . . , but it was a little thicker / taller than a single recipe in a 9″ springform. Next time, I will probably use the 10″ springform with 1-1/2 recipe.

  336. Sandra

    Making this again and the house smells so good…every time Italian prune plums are available, this is my go-to recipe. Looking forward to seeing the new cookbook—on hold for me at the library

  337. nicole

    Hallo, like others have said, i’ve made this cake for years, with other fruits too. It always goes down well. And non-bakers think I’m so smart for making such a great cake!
    Sometimes i add almond flour to the mix, and sometimes i top it with sliced almonds.
    another neat trick is to layer the sliced almonds on the base of the cake tin, then load in the mixture. It creates a crunchy bottom layer to the cake.
    thanks for an awesome blog.

  338. Deborah

    I have baked this wonderful cake with fresh plums in the past. I wa just wondering if you think that frozen plums could be used as I have plums halves in the freezer from last falls harvest.

  339. MAHT

    Still so eager for a weight or a cup amount on the plums (or whatever fruit one uses) — it is the only vague thing in the recipe. Anybody have any insights into this?

    1. deb

      There’s no weight because it’s not consistent (for me). What’s most important is that the plums fully cover the surface, as shown. If your plums are larger, you might need more.

  340. Nivedita

    Finally made this with quartered Flavorosa Pluots. Doubled the recipe and made it in a metal 9×13 inch pan. For such a simple recipe, the payoff was pretty good. However, the next time I will likely cut sugar from 1 to 3/4 cup. I might also try adding a smidge more baking powder or substituting a little cornmeal or almond meal to get a slightly more open crumb. Adults all liked the cake, kids might’ve liked it better if I’d skinned the fruit – the skin was a bit bitter. Organic and well washed fruit, so it wasn’t anything on the skin.

  341. tara grossberg

    made this with peaches 2 days ago with the intention of bringing this in for my co workers. In case you haven’t guessed I found out I am a selfish so and so. Fourth time I made this first time with peaches ……..AWESOME

  342. Michele

    Just found this recipe. I made it with all the small amounts of fruits I had left from the farmers market. Plums, peaches, apricots and a few blueberries. It’s in the oven as I type! Thanks.

  343. Liz Stein

    This is the teacake my dear mother-in-law used to make when we were at the beach in the summer. We’d come home, all sandy and hot, shower and dress, and come down to lovely plum cake and iced tea. I have made it many, many times, with everything from plums to apricots to gooseberries, and I always think of her when I do.

    1. lp

      more details about what tweaks i made:

      – i accidentally tripled the lemon (Tablespoons instead of teaspoons). i do not recommend. after baking, i added sugar to the plums and it helped a lot after sitting overnight.

      – i used a scant 3/4 C sugar and strongly recommend it

      – i omitted the cinnamon and added 1 tsp vanilla, and the zest of a full lemon to the cake (i worked the zest into the sugar before adding the sugar to the butter, then i added the vanilla to the batter); it was a delicious choice even w/the overwhelming lemon juice on the plums themselves

      – i put the plums skin-down based on comments that the cake got too soggy. i may try it the other way, but i was quite happy with the level of moisture/jammy-ness in the torte (some, but not an overwhelming amount)

      next time, i want to add some cornmeal (sub out some flour). i’ll leave it sit w/the batter for about 20-30 min before baking, to help soften the crumb a bit.

      other ideas: i may make a “crust” of sliced almonds and then put the plums skin-up and maybe that will help prevent too much sogginess at the bottom. i also want to do a mixture of cherries, apricots, and loquats w/almonds at some point.

      this would be fantastic with pretty much any stone fruit.

      stellar recipe, all around!

  344. chadlavi

    I baked this the other night, and it came out delicious… but after 65 solid minutes of baking at 350, it still had some spots where the cake wasn’t fully cooked. What do you think I might have done wrong?

  345. Jenn

    I don’t know if you’ll see this (but I hope you do!!). I made your nectarine brown butter buckle the other day for a family party and it was a huge hit. It made me want to change every recipe to use brown butter. Do you think it would be good in this recipe, or would melting/browning the butter do weird things with this batter?? Please advise!!

    1. deb

      I don’t think it would be bad here at all. I think brown butter goes fairly well with fruit, even better with things like brown sugar and vanilla and caramel.

  346. At the markets now sugar plums are available. Wondering if anyone tried it yet with sugar plums or are they too juicy? Hard to be patient for the Italian plums to arrive:).

    1. I used sugar plums last week, and the cake was wonderful. Besides Italian plums and the sugar plums, I made this cake with apricots. At some point, I aim to make it with peaches.

  347. Jill from Detroit

    I’ve wanted make this for several years and finally picked up plums at the orchard today. OMG. Why did I wait? This exceeded my expectations. Plums were not very ripe and really tart but the contrast of tart/sweet and the slightly crusty edge of the cake with the cinnamon sugar was amazing. I mixed the cinnamon and sugar together (used 1 1/2 tsp.) and sprinkled it on top. If this gets better by tomorrow I may die!

  348. Roshni

    This recipe reminded me how delightful a good butter cake is. I made this for a 6 inch cast-iron skillet, but unless you’re a single college student living on her own, do not – I repeat, absolutely do not – make anything smaller than the 9 inch version, it is just *that* good. (I scaled the weight measurements down to a third of their initial amounts, and used 1 egg instead of 2.)

  349. Made this cake yesterday and kept it overnight as advised but my plums sank (English plums) and the bottom was rather soggy. The cake didn’t rise around the plums, they just disappeared. Tastes quite nice if you don’t mind a soggy bottom.

  350. Caroline

    I just made this cake, gluten-free using corn flour instead of all-purpose and gluten free baking soda. It’s simply awesome! It rose beautifully just like your picture and the taste is divine.

    1. Caroline

      Just a side note, the corn flour makes sure there isn’t a soggy bottom. Like with a good cornbread, it really absorbs the liquids. The jammy plum goodness still happens though.

  351. Carolyn

    This was delicious, and very simple to make. It was a good recipe for my toddler to help with. I added a teaspoon of vanilla and half a teaspoon of cardamom to the better, and put half a teaspoon of cardamom on top of the cake instead of the cinnamon. Also used half almond flour and half all purpose gluten free flour. My cake was done at 40 minutes. Next time I would substantially cut the sugar, as I found it sweeter than I like. (Not for health reasons… it’s cake… just to suit my taste.)

  352. thesweetteaspoon

    I just bought plums today and I didn’t really know what to do with them but now I’m going to try this! This looks amazing!

  353. ljelgass

    This torte is fabulous. I’ve made it three times, and most recently swapped cane sugar for turbinado, only because I’d run out of cane– it was still delicious– and added in a sliced nectarine because I was short on plums. The nectarines released a little more liquid (duh) but still really tasty. I’ll continue to make this any time my CSA brings me plums.

  354. Karen Teeling

    I going to try this today even though it’s not a yeast dough. My 90 year old mother often talks about the plum cake her mother use to make where the dough came up around the plums – thought it would make for wonderful memories.

  355. Frédérique

    I made this cake this week end and as with all your recipes it was a success. I made it with quetsches (pronounced “kwehtch”), a variety of plums growing in the east of France (where i live) and managed to make it a day ahead. The cake was soft in the middle and the edges were deliciously crispy. Perfect with a cup of tea or for breakfast. Someone in the comments mentionned adding cardamom to the batter, I will definitely try that next time. Honestly Deb, the French can be quite snob about their food and are quick to judge Americans on their lack of food culture, but your recipes have never let me down. Your blog is my go-to when I entertain or when I lack inspiration, you are my kitchen goddess. Thank you so much for another amazing recipe!

  356. Cala

    Deb: Sent my husband to the store to get plums just to make this. Can’t wait. Couldn’t find Italian plums, but am dreaming of how it will end up anyway. Thanks for always pointing me in the right direction

  357. Leslie

    I made this last night and, although I knew it would be better today, I had two pieces for my dinner and a grilled cheese for dessert an hour later. I thought it was delicious, until I had a piece for breakfast…and my mind was blown! Even better this evening. I used Italian plums and 1 tsp cinnamon. And I have 8 plums left! Might make a GF version tomorrow.

  358. Michelle

    After making this, I think the best thing about this recipe is how easy it is to prepare – you can make a cake with very little effort and very little prep time. It tastes great, but it’s not a showstopper by any means. Nice when you want to share comfort food and not put too much effort into the process.

    A couple other sites reprinted the same recipe and suggested placing the plums cut side up; I did half up, half down, and discerned no difference. I forgot the lemon juice – oops! Still turned out fine.

  359. Kathleen

    I wanted to check if it matters which way round the plums are. I have a copy of the New Easy But Elegant cookbook in which it states ‘skins sides down’. I haven’t made this yet but not sure if I’m misinterpreting what this means.

  360. chris lepore

    Hi. I’ve been having trouble removing this cake from the base of the springform pan, causing it to crack and break. I’m so disappointed, as I wanted to take it somewhere and it seems too fragile. Any suggestions, or ideas on why the cake is breaking so easily?

  361. Marji

    Silly question. It’s hotter than Hades here in Georgia. Any chance you have tried this in a smaller pan in an Instant Pot?

  362. Patricia

    I made this in the afternoon and it was excellent the next day. However, the day after that it was pretty soggy, like it needed more “cake” or fewer plums maybe? My plums were fairly large so I cut them in quarters. I did use the 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and thought it worked (didn’t have lemon juice). Very simple to make.

  363. Cindy

    Holy cow this is incredible. I waited the day to cut into it and am so glad I did. I was going to take this to work, but forget it — I’m keeping it! I hope it freezes well, since I’m going to freeze about half of it. I used Elephant Heart plums and followed the recipe to the letter. It’s fantastic and even though I don’t buy plums that often, I’ll be buying them more now just so I can make this cake. Thank you Deb!!

  364. Claire

    As soon as I saw your pic I knew it was the NYT recipe….which I do have in my recipe binder. I totally bought into the better save this recipe threat, and that it wouldn’t get printed again. It is such an easy delicious recipe and one of the first home baked things I made as an adult that made people think that I knew what I was doing. Thanks for the memories.

  365. Kathie Tumin

    I make this often and always for the Jewish Holidays in the fall. I use a half of a stick of butter (4 tablespoons) and a half cup of unsweetened applesauce.
    I’ve been putting the plums skin side down for over 30 years! Don’t know if it was originally a mistake, but it works just fine.
    My mother also made plum dumplings. I remember them being a lot of work and I don’t have the recipe, but think there was mashed potato in the dough. I had something similar, but with an apricot inside, while traveling either in Vienna or Berlin last year.

  366. I made this for my in-laws family’s dinner. The group of 10 fell completely silent as they ate this cake. As dessert eating continued, the first person to speak up was my sister-in-law’s mother, a person consisting of mostly skin and bones who scarcely eats. And what did she say as she was virtually face down to the plate? “This is the BEST thing that I have EVER eaten.”

    I have actually made this cake numerous times since I found it on your website, Deb. Thanks for sharing the genius of Marian Burros with us!

  367. Xin Yi

    I will admit I did not take your advice to heart initially and devoured a quarter of the cake immediately after it came out of the oven, only to come back to it the next day and find myself completely enchanted! I could scarcely believe how simple the recipe is given the complexity of flavours in the end product. For reference – I used 4 (very large) English plums, and used only 120g of sugar (personal preference of sweetness), which really allowed the plums to shine.

  368. Sandy

    Love this cake! I used 1 tsp of cinnamon (not 1 tbs) and was happy with that amount. The plums I used were sweet so sprinkled 1 tbs of sugar on top. I added vanilla and did not sift dry ingredients. Don’t normally love lemon in desserts but you can’t taste it here. If I make again, I would change as follows: (1) reduce sugar to 3/4 cup; (2) increase number of plums — I used small French plums and thought it could take 20 or so; and, (3) combine the cinnamon and finishing sugar for the final sprinkle. Also, I actually preferred it the first day, not the second. On day 1, the cake is all crispy around the edges and that contrasts nicely with the softer interior. On day 2, you lose most of that crispiness. Still delicious though. Overall a winning (and very easy!) dessert.

  369. This is an amazing and foolproof recipe! I threw it together quickly while guests were arriving, and even forgot to set the timer and it came out perfectly.

    I actually found this recipe on NYT originally, and followed a suggestion there to add cornmeal, either 1/4 or 1/3 of the flour amount! I used 1/3 and it was just delightful, adding a nice crunch and crispiness to the edges. YUM

    The only problem is now I’ll have to make it again, because we did not give ourselves the chance to try how good it can be the next day ;)

  370. Hi Deb, I have made this Purple Plum Torte at least 5 times since you posted it a few weeks ago. I have been giving it to friends and we have eaten it ourselves. Since we can’t get the purple prunes here in very Upstate NY I brought home several pounds from Maine when we were vacationing there recently. Truly this is the most delicious cake I have ever eaten. Not really a cake fan but this one is the HUGE exception. I used black California large plums before I could get ahold of the prune plums and it was equally delicious. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe.

  371. Ivanka Di Felice

    I cannot thank you enough for this lovely recipe. I live in Italy so naturaly am using Italian plums and I have made this recipe twice in 3 days. It keeps disappearing! Even my Italian neighbours are impressed. Thanks for sharing! If you are ever in Tuscany let me know.

  372. Beckie

    My family adores this cake, and I’ve been making it for years. I finish it slightly differently, however. I cover the surface of the batter with as many plums as will fit, but place them cut-side up. Then I sprinkle on a healthy dusting of cinnamon mixed with sugar to distributes the cinnamon evenly. By baking the plums cut-side up, you end up with lovely little pools of glistening plum juice. I will definitely try adding lemon juice.

  373. Ann

    Yesterday our neighbors asked my kids over to pick a bag of plums from their tree, and today I see this in your newsletter. Clearly, the kitchen gods are looking out for me. Thank you, Deb! (Also: AMANDA HESSER SENT YOU A HEADS UP. That’s so freaking cool. In related news, I have just realized that I am someone who fangirls over her favorite cookbook authors/recipe mavens maybe a little more than I was previously aware.)

  374. Helena

    This cake is so delicious that I’ve made it twice in the past week, and am planning to make it again tomorrow (to eat the next day). I reduce the sugar in the batter to 100g (1/2 cup) and still find it plenty sweet. I use 1 tablespoon of sugar and a full tablespoon of cinnamon on top because I like cinnamon and my husband loves cinnamon, and I think it works really well that way. This is definitely going to be a staple for get togethers around here. It goes so perfectly with a cup of coffee. I wish I’d made it years ago.

  375. Amber Banerjee

    I made this recently and it is delicious! I followed the suggestion to let it sit out overnight and am glad I did. The cake is very moist and the plums collapsed into plum puddles. I’ve been eating it for breakfast all week, served with a scoop of plain ellenos yogurt. My plums were not very sweet (grocery store plums), but 1 tbsp of sugar on top was all that was needed. Next time I may add a little cardamom to the batter.

  376. Katherine

    I made this cake at the weekend and it is so delicious, I want to make it again next weekend for my dad’s birthday!
    I was wondering if you had ever added ground almonds to the mix? I don’t want to swap the almonds for flour, just add a little to add to the texture / flavour. Do you have any guidelines for doing this?

  377. Anya

    What a cake! Keep combing back to this recipe when plums are in season (tried with figs once…yum!). My mom’s favourite. Today, couldn’t find the larger pan, so baked this beauty in a 7.5″ springform (180C, 35min). It was a bit taller, the small plums sank to the bottom, were gorgeously squishy and tangy. Happy days :)

  378. Foram

    AHHH! This cake is 100% worth the hype. Made it last night because I had some neglected plums in the fridge as well. Had it for breakfast this morning and the flavors are SO great! Thanks for sharing Deb!
    The batter was kinda stiff and I was worried it would be too dense, but the plum juices work beautifully to make it so deliciously fruity!

  379. Patti Hohne

    This is a simple and glorious recipe. I had all of the ingredients (who wouldn’t?), frozen plum slices from the end of summer harvest, and company for dinner the next day. No springform pan but I used a 3” high cake plan with parchment paper for bottom and sides and a little Bakers Joy. It doesn’t rise very high but it did look like Deb’s photos. I live at 4500 feet and forgot to make any leavening adjustments but I did bake at 360 degrees and it was done in 40 minutes. After cooling, it came out of the pan easily (although be careful because it is kind of a soft cake). Wrapped it up and kept it safe for 24 hours. Perfect light dessert, not over the top, but delicious depth of flavor and not too sweet. This is the easiest thing ever and I can see it would be easy to double in 2 pans. Will try other fruit. A tablespoon of cinnamon might be too much, I used about 2 teaspoons but less would have still been delicious.

  380. What did I do wrong. I used a springform pan and the butter leaked out all over the bottom of my oven. Midway through I put the pan on a cookie sheet and even then there was a pool of butter on the sheet. The cake was wet and gooey even though I baked it for an hour. What a mess.

    1. deb

      Some springoforms leak! What leaks is usually the most slippery, thin ingredient: butter. Not sure why it needed longer to bake, however, but it’s possible that some plums are juicier than others.

  381. Suzanne

    I’m here to say that this cake changed my life. I’ve made it for years – since Deb published it, and commonly for Sunday brunch. I make it lazily on a Saturday to be at its jammiest by Sunday brunch hour. Yesterday I used strawberries that had been picked at their peak last year and frozen + abundant squeezes of lemon and no cinnamon. My family members are divided – some declared it the best version yet, and some prefer the original plum. It’s always forgiving of whatever fruit I use (raspberry + lime is another fave) and SO delicious. Thank for for this lovely and versatile recipe.

  382. Wendy

    I was looking for something to do this weekend, since the pandemic has reduced the options, so I cleaned out our standing freezer. Lo and behold, I found a bag of halved and pitted plums from our tree that I had frozen in 2017 and forgotten. My husband immediately asked me to make the plum torte – it’s his favorite. I had no idea if they were still edible, but I gave it a shot. I didn’t thaw the plums, just ran some warm water over them to dislodge the ice particles (I should have vacuum sealed them, but didn’t) and popped them on the cake.

    Success! The cake is almost as good as it is with fresh plums. Even if we didn’t wait until the second day; it certainly brightened a grey, cold ‘shelter in place’ March one. Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  383. teegan

    I love this cake with plums and have made it most every year in plum season, but I made it with strawberries (half teeny wild ones from our yard and half regular berries from our CSA share here in VT) and a dash of vanilla today and it is superb. Also used wheat flour (because I’m that killjoy hippie) and it was still delightful.

  384. I have a prolific plum tree in my yard and I pick the fruit, wash and dry it and then split it in half to remove the pits. I then lay it out on cookie sheets and freeze and finally toss into resealable bags. When I want to make this cake I just put the frozen halves on top and bake and it works as well as fresh plums. If you have an overabundance of fruit, give it a try…couldn’t be easier!

  385. Virginia

    I just made this with tart little golden plums from our neighbors’ tree, and WOW! Is it tart — even with a full 2 Tbsp sugar sprinkled on top. If I make it again with these plums (which I might, they have a big tree), I may try macerating the plums in sugar first rather than sprinkling the sugar on top. I’ll also let it sit for a while and see if the melding effect mellows the tartness at all. It’s a great cake anyway — amazing texture and flavor — but with these plums, the sourness is a little overwhelming!

  386. KimK

    Everyone I make this for loves it – but I wish I could get it to be a little more crisp on the bottom (it’s soggy because of the fruit juices). Any ideas?

  387. Barb Graf

    Delicious cake! To ensure bottom and sides would brown, I sprayed the pan lightly with canola oil spray, then covered surface with a light coating of graham cracker crumbs. Perfect! I also cut the sugar to 1/2 cup, used half whole wheat flour, added some lemon zest & vanilla, and placed the plums cut-side up.

  388. Sara

    What do you think would be the best way to make this vegan? Olive oil for the butter or? Flax egg or aquafaba for the egg?

  389. Kara

    I made this last night and waited until this morning to cut into it. The only changes I made were 2/3c whole wheat flour + 1/3c AP flour and added a couple nectarines because I was short a few plums. The top is beautifully brown and crisp with the plums sunken in just like the pictures. The inside is a different story. It is so wet and soggy that the slices fall apart, and it’s almost like a pudding or oatmeal consistency? It’s also almost sickeningly sweet, to where my sweet tooth kids couldn’t finish their slices. I did 1c sugar + 2tbsp on top because my fruit didn’t seem too sweet, but next time I think I’d do 3/4c + 1tbsp. I also would try corn meal like another commenter suggested to cut down on the sogginess. Finally I wish I’d cut out one slice last night to see if maybe it had structure before the plum juices really settled throughout the cake.

  390. Missy

    I will preface this with I don’t like fruit desserts. I don’t like fruit pies. I don’t like most fruit except for bananas and berries and the occasional apple. I’m really picky about all things fruit.

    I’m also gluten free, so that can complicate things an awful lot with baking.

    My modifications:

    1) I used the recommendation of one half cup gluten free all purpose flour (due to personal food intolerances, mine is a big batch homemade mix with 24 ounces white rice, 7.5 ounces brown rice, 7 ounces arrowroot, and 3 ounces of tapioca, and ZERO gluten replacers like gums or gummy things like xanthan or guar or psyllium), and one half cup fine almond flour. Because this was a cake, I figured the lack of gums wouldn’t be an issue and the more airy/flaky the better.

    2) I used pluots instead of plums. I think they may have been a little short of ripe, so there wasn’t a whole lot of juice.

    3) I used a 10″ springform pan.

    With all of that, the baking time was probably 30 minutes when it was set, but I let it go about 35 minutes because of peoples’ feedback on how gooey/juicy/messy the end product was for some of them.

    All of that being said, THIS WAS SOOOO GOOD!!! I really wanted to try it before letting it sit overnight and I’m glad I did. The plums basically disintegrate into an oozy goo. Normally, my issue with fruit desserts is that they still hold some of their shape and it just isn’t my favorite as far as texture goes. Not the case with this. The top of the torte with the lemon juice/sugar combo leads it to have an almost creme brûlée/angel food crunchy texture which is just outstanding. I’m glad I did the 2 tablespoons of sugar on top because the pluots are a bit tart, but with the extra sugar, are just fabulous.

    I will definitely make this again!!!

  391. sallyt

    I’ve been making this since it was originally published, and got to meet Marian Burros two years ago (over lunch!) and tell how much this recipe meant to me growing up. Loved this rendition with lemon juice etc.

  392. Calisson

    I always skip the cinnamon! IMO it detracts from everything. I make this with blueberries, mixing about an inch of a an almond paste roll into the batter. It is always a hit.

  393. JODY

    This is my go to plum recipe! Last week I used adorable small plums from the farmer’s market that were the most lovely golden-ruby color. I have a spiced cinnamon/cardamom/vanilla sugar from The Spice House that I use for sprinkling on the top.

  394. Sara McIntire

    I adore this cake and have made it many times. Never any leftovers for the next day. Not a huge fan of cinnamon so often use ground ginger. Plums are so undervalued IMHO.

    1. deb
  395. Amy Baker Ramstead

    Oh wow. I was about to make dimply plum cake when I saw this recipe in the newsletter.
    This is so good and so easy. I could only fit 4 fortune plums – 8 halves. I wasn’t sure they were ripe enough and I was curious about the skins. Of course it baked as perfectly as Deb said it would. I had to use gf flour, but otherwise as written.
    I’m lucky to have local Yakima, Washington fruit in abundance for all the stone fruit recipes on this site.

  396. Loretta Gillis

    Hi…I will be making the Blue Plum Tote for the weekend… it yummy on it’s own or does it need a bit of whipped cream or ice cream with it!!

  397. Cindy

    This is one of the best things I’ve baked in a long time. The plums I used were pretty mediocre eaten out of hand, so I was hoping a cake might redeem them. Holy cow, did it ever. The only change I made was to add 1/2 tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts to the cake batter. Thank you for such a delicious recipe–this is one I will make again and again!

  398. Theresa

    I’ve made this cake a million times, it always turns out beautifully. For some reason, the plums sank to the bottom both times I made it this year. Any suggestions about how to avoid that? I’ve done nothing different EXCEPT I’ve been using a fancy artisanal flour I got during lockdown when commercial flour was unavailable. Could that be why? Thanks!

    1. deb

      In general, the plums are supposed to sink but a softer flour could indeed allow them to sink more, so could heavier plums. You could use a spoonful more next time.

  399. Megan Mercado

    Just excellent! I’ve made this three times, and the second time it wasn’t as amazing, but that was because I tried to cram too many plums into it, and then apparently underbaked it. However, the first and third times, when I followed the directions, it was stunning. Sweet cake, slightly crunchy topping, and sour plums. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

  400. Elizabeth Purkiss

    Hi Deb, I’m planning on using whole wheat flour and stevia to make this recipe with plums and nectarines. Any suggestions for measurements? and a substitute for the lemon?

  401. Melinda R.

    I have been making this for years and sharing the recipe, along with Marian Burros’ story:
    “When I had been married just a couple of years, I had worked out an assembly-line process for making many tortes and putting them in the freezer. A friend who loved the tortes said that in exchange for two she would let me store as many as I wanted in her freezer. A week later she went on vacation for two weeks and her mother stayed with her children. When she returned, my friend called and asked:
    “How many of those tortes did you leave in my freezer?”
    “Twenty-four, but two of those were for you.”
    There was a long pause. “Well, I guess my mother either ate twelve of them or gave them away.”
    Her mother must have liked them as much as I do. And the children. And possibly the neighbors. “

  402. Anna

    I’ve made this recipe over a dozen times and have it memorized by now—it’s amazing. However, every single time I’ve gotten a soggy bottom that makes it difficult to remove from the pan. I use a round of parchment, which makes it easier, but is there something that I can do to get the bottom browned and solid?

      1. Anna

        I usually end up baking this for about an hour, and the top does get very browned, so…not sure. I’ll try baking a little more next time!

        1. Nina

          I’ve baked this cake many times and it always turned out absolutely perfect, apart from today where I too did get a soggy bottom. The only difference from all the precious bakes was that I used a new oven which had a convection function, so I’m going to assume it might be the culprit !

  403. Irina

    I made it 3 times since last week. 1st time with yellow plums, 2nd time with tiny red plums and now as suggested in the recipe. All 3 were really yummy. I’ve got some peaches that need eating…maybe I’ll bake it a 4th time. Thank you Deb!

  404. Kristen

    Just learned of this recipe today from an article in the NYT, although the recipe itself is now behind a paywall. So glad I thought to check here! Baked it this afternoon and it’s gorgeous – so easy and delicious. Thank you, Deb x

  405. Nadine

    What does sprinkling the cake batter with lemon juice before you add the cinnamon and sugar do, exactly? Absolutely loved how the cake came out. Just curious about this step.

  406. Lori

    I made this cake. I had to try it. Today.
    Soooo good. And according to your instructions, it’s better the next day. I can’t believe it’s better than the slice(s) we ate today !
    Def a keeper recipe

  407. Audrey

    I made this cake this weekend and it was spectacular. We made it Saturday afternoon and ate it with guests at Sunday dinner. The only change I made was I sprinkled turbinado sugar on the top instead of plain sugar. Don’t know if it made any difference, but I really loved this cake.

  408. OMG! I made this to ‘save’ for tomorrow, as you suggested. Well, I was getting ready for bed and had to cover it & accidentally sliced a wedge and ate it. That has to be the BEST dessert I’ve ever tasted (and it was bloody easy to make). I can’t wait to see what it’s like tomorrow. Dynamite!

  409. phyllis segura

    Try turning the plums cut side up. Looks better. I have a recipe of my own and I use half that amount of sugar. Add some lemon zest and the lemon to the batter. Dash of vanilla. And some sugar mixed with cinnamon and cloves on top. I think I add some sour cream too. Of course Burros’ version is the classic.

  410. Peggy Peterson

    I first made this last week, and we loved it so much I made it twice today, one to give away. The second and third times I made it I added a Tbs of plum brandy to the batter and used the same to sprinkle instead of lemon juice before the cinnamon and sugar. Heavenly!

  411. Win

    I’m dying to make this cake! Thank you for the article and recipe. Question, use mixer to beat the butter and sugar (need to borrow mixer) and then add the eggs… do I just use spatula to mix the eggs and not the mixer?
    Thank you very much, gonna do it this weekend!

  412. Ginny

    I had a windfall (metaphorical, not literal) of plums and had to quickly wash, dry, halve and freeze many pounds quickly, tossed into quart-sized bags, without freezing them individually first: should I completely thaw and drain out some juice before adding to the batter, or can I bake it using frozen plum halves? Thanks!

  413. Debbie Kay Cook

    This is my go-to plum cake and I make it about six or seven times a year since I found this recipe. I’ve done it with sugar plums, italian prune plums and empire plums. The Sugar Plums were tart!!! I had to use a lot of extra sugar to get it sweet enough and it still didn’t work. Italian Prune Plums are small bites of happiness with an occasional tart nip. Empire plums are divine and just melt. Considering I’ve made this enough times that any time my young boys see plums, I get mad requests for this cake, I’ve learned a few things. Vanilla helps. I typically add about a teaspoon to a 1 ½ teaspoons to the batter. I also double the recipe. Remember those boys I have? Well, they are both in their twenties, going to school, and swore off of MREs since their military contracts ended. They eat me out of house and home and doubling the recipe is critical to making sure that I have a slice or two before it’s gone. I also layer the cake. Batter, plums, batter, plums, batter and a top dusting of cinnamon-sugar. And because it’s doubled, I reduce the temperature by 25 degrees and bake it a little bit longer.

    Don’t judge me. I happen to be a personal chef in a former lifetime and I know a good recipe when I see it. This is one of those and the only reason for the changes is that vanilla goes with everything and I have boys. I hope you try it too.

  414. Tamara

    I made this earlier in the summer when I found fruit called plumcots (cross between apricots and plums) at the grocery but had no particular plans for them but to eat them.
    Then I made this with them and WOW! So simple yet so darn good. I mean SO DARN GOOD!