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.

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.Renee Schettler Rossi

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.
Domenica Marchetti

Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Total 1 hr 30 mins
Dessert
Italian
10 to 12 servings
343 kcal
4.74 / 19 votes
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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.
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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%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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 plum 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

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was fortunate to find this wonderful cake through a very complementary comment from an acquaintance who lives in Roma, Italy, and since I am Italian and live in Tuscany it did inspire me to try this “Italian Classic”, and it is delicious. I had some dark plums from our neighbour’s orchard, and some local almond flour, and it being Sunday, a relaxing day to make a cake. We enjoyed it this evening with a glass of Chianti, and send our compliments to Domenica Marchetti and the people at Culinaria. Next time I will extend the almond topping a bit more to the edges, and you can see why from the foto. I will be making this again for many different occasions. Grazie e ciao!

    Plum Almond Cake Recipe

    1. Ciao Olga, thank you for taking the time to write, and for sharing your photo. I’m so pleased to know you enjoyed this cake. It’s one of my favorites, too, and I can imagine how delicious it must be with those local plums and almond flour. Cheers and my best, Domenica

  2. 5 stars
    This is the best cake ever. I have taken it to so manny dinner parties and it’s always a hit. Super yummy with fresh plums but have used tinned plums when fresh not in season and it’s still delicious.

  3. What about to use frozen cheries instead of plums (now is not season for plums). Has somebody tried? Thanks Zina

    1. Zita, we haven’t tried this cake with cherries, but I love the notion of it and I think the taste would be spectacular. Very nice idea. I’d go ahead and try it, being certain that you completely thaw and drain the cherries and pat them dry to remove as much moisture as possible since frozen fruit so often tends to retain extra moisture and can be a touch soggy. I’d hate for the cake to take on that extra liquid and have the consistency be a little off. Kindly let us know how it goes!

  4. 5 stars
    I didn’t have any idea how to use plums when I got some from my father-in-law. I have never had plums in my country. So I was very happy that I found this recipe. Plums, almonds, and lemon are a great combination and this cake’s color was wonderful. My husband loved this cake and plums are now my husband’s favorite fruit (it seems that I have still lots of things I don’t know about him even though we have lived together for 10 years!). I will definitely make this cake again!

    1. Wonderful, Maiko! We so appreciate you taking the time to let us know how much you and your husband love this cake. And we’re already looking forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…who knows what else you may learn about your husband as you continue to try new recipes?!

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