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Classic Plum Torte

Make this decadent dessert from your late-summer plum harvest

August 29, 2016
A sweet treat to ring in the beginning of fall

Take advantage of the late summer plum harvest with this easy cake, adapted from a vintage 1980s New York Times recipe. A Labor Day tradition, it signals the beginning of fall.


  • 10-12 Italian plums, halved and pitted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Decorator’s sugar, cinnamon and confectioners’ sugar for topping (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar, vanilla and butter in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
  3. Spoon the batter into an 8-, 9- or 10-inch springform pan. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  4. Bake 50 to 60 minutes, depending on pan size. (Larger pans will take about 50 minutes.) Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Eat warm or cooled, plain or with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.


If your plums are large, cut them in quarters. Rather than using a springform pan, grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment, butter the parchment and carry on. To freeze the torte, double-wrap in foil, place in a plastic bag and seal. To serve, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.

For another lovely plum recipe, try our Upside-Down Plum Cake.