Plum Torte

This plum torte is the most requested recipe from The New York Times. And with good reason. An easy yet elegant way to indulge in summer that’s made with a handful of everyday pantry ingredients.

A purple plum torte with dripping juice on a baking pan, all on a cooling wrap

“This plum torte is both the most requested recipe in the Times archives,” wrote Amanda Hesser about this recipe that made its first appearance decades ago in Elegant But Easy, a cookbook by The New York Times journalist Marion Burros. Hesser goes on to surmise that the recipe’s popularity among readers is likely due to the ingredients being familiar, the instructions calling for just a handful of steps, and no special equipment or fancy baking skills. Not only is the dessert not overly fussy, it’s not overly sweet, and it’s not at all intimidating to make.–Renee Schettler

Plum Torte

  • Quick Glance
  • (13)
  • 15 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8
Print RecipeBuy the The Essential New York Times Cookbook cookbook

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Special Equipment: 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan



Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl with a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until light in color, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the dry ingredients and then the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the pan. Cover the top of the batter with the plum halves or wedges, skin side up.

Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the lemon juice, adjusting the amount to the tartness of the fruit. Sprinkle with the cinnamon.

Bake the plum torte until the cake is golden and the plums are bubbly, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool on a rack, then unmold. Originally published October 24, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the The Essential New York Times Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Everyone who tried this plum torte proclaimed, "MMMMmmm!" It was a big hit! The plums were beautifully tart and the cake was moist and sweet. One of my testers who "doesn't like plums" loved it and lapped it up. Definitely a keeper.

It was fast and easy to put together.

I used about 5 red plums. Normally for a plum tart my instinct would be to use prune plums, but I couldn't find them at the grocery store, so I used the large round red plums. They were delicious when cooked! I cut them into small wedges and placed them in concentric circles. It looked beautiful!

I didn't use the lemon juice. My plums were quite tart and I'm glad I decided to omit it because the final torte had the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

I sprinkled the cinnamon and sugar on the tart as instructed, but I think next time I will mix the cinnamon and sugar together and then sprinkle it as it would look nicer. The brown cinnamon on top isn't super appealing. I think it would be great with any kind of fruit you have on hand, so it's worth keeping this recipe on hand for the summer.

This is the first plum dessert I've ever made. Which is kind of surprising as I am married to someone who LOVE plums. And this dessert will without question be made again. It was shockingly easy.

Even with cutting and pitting the plums, it may have taken me only 15 minutes to assemble the dessert. It was golden brown with bubbling fruit when I took it out of the oven. And it smelled heavenly. We had it for dessert last night and we both were so excited at how delicious this was! Its appearance is rustic. I wouldn't say it's a pretty dessert. But it's beautiful in its own way.

I CRAMMED as much fruit as I could in the pan but simply could not fit more than 6 plums in there. I sprinkled the cinnamon through a sieve and half a teaspoon more covered the whole torte. More than that would have been bitter.

That said, I loved the end result and will happily make this again!


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  1. This was wonderful, thanks for sharing the recipe. We used Italian prune plums that were very tart and at the last minute, worried that 3/4 c sugar wasn’t enough, I also sprinkled a couple tbsp of turbinado on top — great texture and flavor. I managed to get 12 halved plums in there, nearly covering the whole thing.

    Also, I was cooking for a vegan so thought the following might be helpful: Earth Balance for the butter, egg replacer from Bob’s Red Mill, and a bit of sourdough starter swapped for the flour by volume (this seems to give my vegan baked goods a better flavor and texture). Really couldn’t tell. Fantastic for breakfast with plain Greek yogurt (for us non-vegans)!

    1. Thanks, ECK. We so appreciate you taking the time to share your experience (and useful vegan baking tips) with us. We’re so pleased that this worked out so well for you.

    1. That looks fantastic, Karen! We have had readers who have had success with freezing the baked torte, well wrapped with several layers of plastic wrap.

  2. Sounds just like the recipe my Italian co-worker gave me 30+ years ago. I cannot seem to locate it. I remember. The paper was pretty delicate then!

    1. Judith, I hope it’s the same. If you try it, do let us know if it tastes the same.

  3. Can you use frozen plums in this recipe? We had a bounty crop and had to freeze some of the plums.

    1. While I have no experience with frozen fruit in this type of recipe, my experience with strawberries, which throw off more liquid than other berries, would be to drain any excess liquid before adding them to the cake. Otherwise, I suspect that the cake will turn into a soggy mess because the excess liquid cannot be “baked out”.

      1. Thanks, Steve. That’s an excellent tip. The recipe is designed to handle a significant amount of moisture if making it with very ripe, juicy plums, but too much liquid could be an issue.

    2. Dawne, we’ve never tried it with frozen fruit, but the original source of this recipe (the NY Times) suggests that it will work just as well with frozen fruit. If your plums give off a lot of liquid as they thaw, you may need to increase your bake time a little. Just keep a close eye on it. Do let us know how it turns out!

  4. I made this with some plumcots (cross between plums and apricots). Oh my, oh my! This was heaven on a plate. The plumcots were perfect, the flavor divine. I was going to share with neighbors, but no. My husband and I ate it all ourselves.

    Such a simple, easy recipe; so flavorful.

    It did cook faster than the directions, which I think was because my plumcots weren’t as juicy as regular plums would be, so keep close watch. But do make this. Your taste buds will thank you, the heavens will open, and your life, for one shining moment in time, will be made whole. It’s that good.

    1. Thanks, Tamara! You’ve officially won the ‘comment of the day’ award! We’re so delighted that this turned out so perfectly for you, and thank you for taking the time to describe just how truly amazing this torte is.

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