NY Times Plum Torte-Famous Fridays

NY Times Plum Torte-Famous Fridays

Hi Everyone.  In my effort to give you guys some fun and interesting recipes, I've come up with Famous Fridays. The idea is that once a week I'll post a recipe from a famous baker, cookbook, restaurant etc.. etc. etc...It's sort of a "learn from the pros" approach. I think it'll be a fun way to showcase some tried and true favorites and add our own little touches too. If you have any suggestions on what cookbooks to look at or what recipes to sample, I would love it.


This cake is a testament to the lasting power of a perfect recipe.  It was first published in 1983 in the NY Times by Marian Burros, but was around for much longer than that. I remember my mom clipping it out (I was still in high school then--leg warmers and all!) and putting it into her recipe box. A few years later, I was digging through the box and came up with this priceless fossil! It's been on my fall repertoire ever since.


Juicy, sweet/tart plums, encased in a buttery cinnamony cake--this is a melt-in-your-mouth dessert. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! But seriously, it's a delicious easy to make impressive looking dessert, that can be served at a fancy dinner party (I even count it as a "healthy" breakfast treat, because hey, there is some fruit in it). What's so cool about this cake is that no matter how you place the plums on top of the batter, it always bakes up perfectly, revealing little plum pockets that make for a beautiful purply contrast to the golden brown of the cake and makes it seem like it was crafted by a pro. Plus there are only 8 simple little ingredients and you will probably have most of them around, except for the plums, which by now you realize have become an absolute necessity. Which brings me to my next point. When I think about this cake, the only drawback, is the fact that the Italian prune plums you need for this recipe, are really only around for a few short weeks in September and maybe early October.

Time is ticking away...so you'd better make this before our precious plums disappear! Sorry for the drama, I just don't want you to miss out on this amazing dessert. Thank you for trying out Famous Fridays with me. I hope you enjoyed. TGIF! 



NY Times Plum Torte

Serves about 8-10 people        
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (plus time for butter to reach room temperature)  
Baking Time:  About 1 hour
Total Time:  1 hour and 15 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, sifted

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 eggs, room temperature

  • 12 Italian prune plums, cut in half and pitted

  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • About teaspoon sugar
  • About teaspoon cinnamon


1. Preheat over to 350ºF (176ºC).

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.

3. Using electric mixer, cream sugar and butter together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well.

4. On low speed, add the flour mixture until just combined.

5. Spoon batter into a 9" or 10" spring form pan. Place plum halves, skin side facing upward, on top of the batter. Sprinkle the teaspoon of sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon on the surface of the cake.

6. Bake for about 1 hour or until the cake is a medium golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake part comes out free of batter. 

7. Cool on rack. This is great served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or both! It stays fresh wrapped in plastic wrap for at least a day after.



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