Plum Almond Cake

This plum almond cake, an Italian dessert known as Torta di Prugne e Mandorle, is easy to make from scratch with flour, almond meal, sugar, butter, lemon, and plums. Addictively delicious.

A slice of plum almond cake on a brown ceramic plate.

This plum almond cake is an Italian classic. While we’ve got nothing against homey, which is what author Domenica Marchetti dubs this dessert, we think this lovely little looker of a cake has a little haute going on, too. She prefers how this simple cake “celebrates September, when farmers’ markets are overflowing with small, dark Italian plums,” but quite frankly, we keep this recipe handy all summer long and make it with whatever variety of plums we happen to find.

Just wait’ll you taste the delicate-crumbed cake interspersed with pockets of plums, which turn jammy as they bake. We’re a little wobbly in the knees just thinking about it.–David Leite

A whole plum almond cake on a plate with one wedge cut from it.

Plum Almond Cake FAQs

What are the best type of plums to use for this Italian almond cake?

Italian prune plums are traditionally used here, but our testers found that any ripe plums that you can find will work well.

How should this cake be stored?

The cake can be stored, covered in plastic, at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, cool completely, wrap well in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Plum Almond Cake

A slice of plum almond cake on a brown ceramic plate.
This plum almond cake, an Italian dessert known as Torta di Prugne e Mandorle, is easy to make from scratch with flour, almond meal, sugar, butter, lemon, and plums. Addictively delicious.

Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Dessert
Italian
10 to 12 servings
343 kcal
4.75 / 20 votes
Print RecipeBuy the Rustic Italian cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Equipment

  • 8- or 9-inch (20- or 23-cm) springform pan

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup sunflower or other mild vegetable oil plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour (you can find this almost anywhere these days, even at Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 7 to 9 plums (any variety) halved and pitted but not peeled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature

Directions
 

  • 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 any excess.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, half-and-half (or milk, if using), lemon juice and zest, the 1 cup (8 ounces) sugar, and the almond extract until thoroughly combined. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk just until combined.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the plum halves, cut side up, atop the batter. In a bowl, combine the almonds, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and the butter and mix well. Dot the almond topping over the cake.
  • Bake the cake until the surface 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.
Print RecipeBuy the Rustic Italian cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 343kcal (17%)Carbohydrates: 38g (13%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 26mg (9%)Sodium: 72mg (3%)Potassium: 233mg (7%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 26g (29%)Vitamin A: 280IU (6%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 84mg (8%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This Italian almond cake is delicious and beautiful. Homey and brilliant. The flavors of this plum almond 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!

The plum almond 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.

This Italian almond 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.

Originally published August 20, 2018

HUNGRY FOR MORE?

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such a wonderful recipe. I’ve made it at least 20 times, sometimes with plums but also with apples, peaches, apricots and various berries. Today I made it with strawberries, subbing the lemon for orange. Unless the fruit is very tart I don’t always bother tossing the flaked almonds with sugar and butter and instead just scatter them over raw.

  2. 5 stars
    I misread the recipe and omitted the oil (although I used half and half not milk), and the texture was still great. Also used lemon peel only (more subtle flavor), and sprinkled turbinado sugar and almonds on top (laziness).

  3. 5 stars
    I’m making this beauty for a brunch this Sunday, can I use Almond milk? Looking forward to your suggestion

    1. Hi Giselle,
      To make this dairy free I used dairy free creamer (for the half and half) and it tasted and turned out wonderful!

      1. 5 stars
        I made the cake today and oh my goodness it’s officially my favorite cake!!!! I tried the non dairy half n half it worked like a charm. Thank you so much 🙏🏽

    2. Giselle, we haven’t tried it with almond milk, so we can’t say for certain, but it would likely work fine. Do let us know how it turns out!

      1. I will definitely, I’ve used Almond milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice in place of buttermilk and it curdled. Wish me luck!!

  4. Just baked this cake! Only problem is in the ingredients it had milk, but when I put it together there was no mention of when to add the milk, so I completely missed it and so the cake was very dry, unfortunately!

  5. 5 stars
    This a wonderful cake! I had to sub gluten free flour mix and I roasted the plums first to draw out some of the moisture. My family loved the results and this will become a regular in my GF baking.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish