Plum Almond Cake | Torta di Prugne e Mandorle

A homey cake is a treat any time of year. Halved and nestled in the batter, the plums turn ruby red and jammy as they bake.–Domenica Marchetti

LC Haute Yet Homey Note

Not to be argumentative with author Domenica Marchetti, whose recipes and writings we adore, but while she prefers how this simple cake “celebrates September, when farmers’ markets are overflowing with small, dark Italian plums,” we keep this recipe handy all summer long and make it with whatever variety of plums we happen to have on hand. And while wW’ve got nothing against homey, as Marchetti dubs this dessert, we think this looker of a cake has a little haute going on, too.

Special Equipment: 8- or 9-inch springform pan

Plum Almond Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes one 8- or 9-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) sunflower or vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) almond meal or almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) half-and-half or whole milk
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 7 to 9 plums (any variety), halved and pitted but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly oil an 8- or 9-inch springform pan. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
  • 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, egg, half-and-half, lemon juice and zest, the 1 cup (8 ounces) sugar, and the almond extract. Whisk to blend thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  • 3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the plum halves, cut side up, on top of the batter. In a bowl, combine the almonds, the 2 tablespoons sugar, and the butter and mix well. Dot the almond topping over the cake.
  • 4. Bake the cake until the topping is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (If using an 8-inch pan, you may need to bake it longer, being careful to cover the outer edges of the cake with a strip of foil if they begin to brown.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the ring from the pan and place the cake on a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve warm or, if you can wait, at room temperature.
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Comments
Comments
  1. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Kara Vitek] Delicious and beautiful. Homey and brilliant. The flavors of this cake blend remarkably well together and the cake is beautiful studded with the plums. I couldn’t find Italian plums so I just used the wonderful black plums from the farmers’ market. The fruit made the cook time a little challenging, as it kept the batter around the sliced plums very moist. I cooked the cake for 5 minutes longer than suggested. The only thing I would change is to increase the amount of the almond topping; I loved the contrast in textures it lent to the cake—I just wanted more of it! I really preferred this cake slightly warm. Simply beautiful and superb!

  2. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Carrie S.] This cake highlights the delicious combination of plums and almonds. What I thought would be the tricky part of the recipe was finding almond meal, and that concern disappeared when I found that Trader Joe’s sells it—and at a great price! What ended up being tricky was pitting the plums. I used a combination of red and black plums and found that the ripe ones were easier to pit but that the skin easily separated from the flesh and the flesh ended up being smooshed. The slightly unripe plums were easier to halve because they were firmer but getting the pit out of them required a knife and the end result wasn’t very pretty. Once baked, the plums that ended up getting a bit mangled in the process released a lot of their juices into the cake batter since the skins weren’t completely intact. Not a big deal, especially if the cake is eaten that day. By day two, the cake was soggy but still delicious. The topping adds a great additional crunchy texture and would be better showcased with a wider pan. If you use an 8-inch pan, make sure it has high sides (3 inches) and consider covering the edges with foil once it browns so you can get the center to bake for a bit longer.

  3. Testers Choice Testers Choice says:

    [Linda Pacchiano] The cake was very good with its nice, delicate crumb topping and very appealing, almost buttery taste, although there was no butter used in the batter. I used fairly ripe, but not overly ripe, plums. They were rather tart so the next time I make this cake I will let them get a bit more ripe or I will try to find Italian plums. My plums were larger than Italian plums, so I only needed 7 plums halved, rather than 9, to cover the top of my cake. I didn’t have an 8-inch springform pan, so I used a regular 8-inch cake pan. I made a parchment round for the bottom of the pan hoping that this would help me get the cake out of the pan. The cake took exactly 45 minutes to bake. I probably should have let it cool for more than 20 minutes before taking it out of the pan, because it did break a bit when I removed it.

  4. Susan says:

    I am so happy to find this recipe using plums. I make a very similar recipe (uses melted butter instead of oil) that uses chopped peaches. In the back of my mind I thought how good it would likely be with plums. It is my very favorite simple summery cake that’s good any time of day. I grind toasted, blanched sliced almonds to a powder rather than buy almond flour, I like that little bit of texture it lends. Almond is a natural flavor enhancer with all stone fruits.

    • Julie Dreyfoos, LC Production Manager says:

      Isn’t summertime the best Susan, with all the wonderful plums and peaches that we can use for tasty treats like this. Let us know what you think after you make.

  5. An Nguyen says:

    Alas, I came across this recipe half an hour too late! I had some plums that needed to be used, so I went and made Marion Burros’ Purple Plum Torte — which is delicious, but it would have been great to be able to try out a new recipe. Oh well, all the more reasons to buy more plums next week!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      An, we’re looking forward to hearing from you when you’ve a new supply of plums. (I, like you, am always seeking new excuses to splurge on plums at the greenmarket…)

  6. Maurine Fischel says:

    This looked like a perfect cake to finish off a Tuscan inspired meal. However, I didn’t have sunflower oil, but thought olive oil might work rather well. Then, when I realized I had doubled the required amount of milk, I thought it an excellent idea to double the entire recipe and make one cake with plums and the other with cherries. Both came out wonderfully delicious!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Maurine, we love when things like this work out perfectly. Just goes to show you, follow your instincts. Always. Thanks for sharing…

  7. Here I am, after cooking yet another recipe found on Leite’s Culinaria. I have yet to make anything from this site that has not turned out spectacular, tasted wonderful, and quickly printed for addition to my favorite recipe folder. This recipe is no different.
    I will definitely make this again. And again.

  8. Ariel Michael says:

    Okay, so I had some issues with the cake. Firstly, I could not cut the plums in half and pit them with any ease. The plums all squashed, the juices ran out and it was impossible to get proper plum halves into the batter. I also used buttermilk as I didn’t have milk. Secondly, my topping all sank to the bottom. The cake was delicious and baked just fine however. Also, I used coconut oil instead of regular oil. Delish!

    • David Leite says:

      Hey, Ariel. Cutting plums, or any ripe stone fruit, can be difficult. One trick I use is to place them in the freezer–not until frozen!!–but until just firm enough to halve. Also, the substitution of the buttermilk for the milk and the coconut oil for the regular oil could have impacted the results. They all contain different fat contents, and you might have thrown off the delicate chemistry, found in all baked goods, by the swap outs. But I’m glad you enjoyed it. It truly is a delicious cake, just right for the season!

    • Hi Ariel,
      Sorry your plums did not cooperate. I like David’s idea of briefly freezing them. It also depends on the type of plum you used. Some are easier to split in half than others. The Italian prune plums called for in the recipe are usually pretty easy to separate. And yes, coconut oil would definitely change the consistency and affect the way the cake bakes, as it is heavier than sunflower or vegetable oil. I actually like the idea of adding a bit of coconut flavor, so I may have to try your variation. At any rate, I’m glad you were happy with the way it tasted. Cheers, D

  9. Hi and thanks for this recipe. The web page is interesting and inviting.
    Today I tried this recipe using rye flour ( I prefer using organic, non-wheat flour). For more flavour I macerated the plums for 1 hour in a bit of rum, lemon juice, zest, cinnamon and sugar. They leave a thick juice which is nice to top the cake with after is baked.
    Is the base of the cake supposed to come out fluffy? Because mine didn’t. It came out soft but rather dense, like a pudding. Good flavour though, the soft base with the tangy plums and crispy almonds on top. Will make again but probably be using a lighter flour.

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Laura, yes, I think that your flour is the culprit. You might try a GF baking mix if you are trying to avoid wheat. Thanks for the compliments!

  10. After 3 days it was still lovely so I wonder if you can freeze it the day after is made. Has anyone tried freezing it?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Laura, love that it remained moist and lovely for so long on the counter! I’m actually a little worried about freezing it. Plums are so watery, I worry that during thawing the excess moisture may make the rest of the cake rather sodden. But I am very willing to be proven wrong…has anyone tried stashing this work of art in the freezer? I’ve also asked the author of this recipe, Domenica Marchetti, for her advice. So kindly be patient, Laura, we’ll have a response for you soon.

  11. Alison Hanna says:

    This is my absolute fav cake – though I live in Hong Kong, so always make with blueberries. My kids call it the blueberry muffin cake.

    Blueberry Almond Torta

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Love that, Alison! Kids have a way of naming things the exact way it is, don’t you agree? Looking forward to hearing what recipe from the site you try next…

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