What is a good recipe for authentic plum cake?


Kurt Olsen

From 1983 through 1989, the Times published Marian Burros’ recipe for Plum Torte every September until the editors decided enough was enough. That year, the recipe was to be printed for the last time. “To counter anticipated protests,” Ms. Burros wrote a few years later, “the recipe was printed in larger type than usual with a broken-line border around it to encourage clipping.” It had no effect. The newspaper was inundated with furious letters. “The presentation of the recipe, like the torte itself, is bittersweet,” remarked a Tarrytown, New York, reader. “Summer is coming to an end, and October is on its way. That is the purpose of your yearly recipe. Don’t be downhearted about it.” No, we are not! And we promise that every year, when summer gives way to autumn, we will make the recipe widely accessible to everybody. The original 1983 recipe asked for one cup of sugar; the 1989 version called for 34 cup. Both choices are shown below. These are five ways to adapt the torte .

Featured in: Eating Well

  • ¾ to 1cup sugar
  • ½cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1cup unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2eggs
  • 24halves pitted purple plums
  • Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

364 calories; 13 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 60 g carbs; 4 g dietary fiber; 45 g sugars; 5 g protein; 81 mg sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be used in place of professional nutritional guidance.

Powered by

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs.
  3. Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. On top of the batter, place the plum halves, skin side up. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Depending on how much cinnamon you want, sprinkle with roughly 1 teaspoon.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool; refrigerate or freeze if preferred. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)


  • To freeze, cover the torte in foil twice, lay it in a plastic bag, and seal it.

Have you cooked this?

or to mark this recipe as cooked.

Related Questions

  • What is traditional plum cake?

    Plum cake refers to a wide range of cakes usually made with dried fruits such as currants, raisins, sultanas, or prunes, and also sometimes with fresh fruits. There are several plum cakes and puddings to choose from.

  • Which is the best plum cake?

    Started in 1984, Omana Paul is the best baker of Plum Cakes in India. This delectable dessert is popular both in India and abroad.

  • What is the secret to a perfect cake?

    The seven rules for baking a perfect cake

    1. Always grease the pan and line with parchment.
    2. Allow the oven to fully preheat first.
    3. Unless otherwise stated, bake in the center of the oven
    4. Bake in the size of pan specified.
    5. Don’t try to double the recipe.
    6. Use fresh ingredients.
    7. No substitutions.
    8. Your cake is too dense.
  • What is in British plum cake?

    Rich Plum Cake from England. A broad phrase for heavy fruit cake with a large percentage of dried black fruit (currants, sultanas, raisins, prune etc). It need not necessarily contain any plums, and may derive from an old usage of the word to mean ‘well-filled’ or ‘plump’.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us

For more information or to make comments and suggestions, please contact:
Kurt Olsen
Dairy Development Coordinator, Missouri Department of Agriculture
Phone: (573) 291-5704
E-mail: [email protected]