I agree, good easy cake recipe. I use up fruit that’s not getting eaten, so I can always justify making it up. I never use the cinnamon and use 1/4 cup ground almonds and 3/4 cup flour. I’ll also add a bit of almond extract to bump up the almond flavor. It’s a winner and super easy.
Aloha Tim! I purchased the New York Times Cook Book (Amanda Hesser) a few years ago. So many recipes to try out! I wonder if I could use mangoes from my garden instead of plums which are hard to find (good ones) here on Maui?
This is a fabulous and foolproof cake. I found the recipe ages ago and have been making it for years. I used to have a plum tree and towards the end of summer would make lots of these cakes to freeze and then eat during the winter months. Great warm with a bit of crème fraîche, or vanilla ice cream if the plums are really tangy.
Amelia also inspired me to make this cake a few days ago! I mean, if they ran the recipe for 12 years I had to see what it was all about. Everyone loved it, and I plan on blogging it this week. Such an easy cake to whip up when you have house guests. Next time I’ll try cutting back a bit on the sugar, too, and serving with whipped cream.
Truly one of the best cakes ever when there are stone fruits around. Plums are divine because they’re kind of tart which contrasts beautifully with the sweet cake. Had some leftover streusel once that I tossed on, but it’s not necessary. Waiting overnight to eat it is hard, but worth it as the plums seep into the cake. I’m going to use frozen peaches in the winter and maybe frozen cherries. It’s just terrific.
I made it and it is sooooo gooooood and so easy. I was thinking that if I was ever on a cooking show (a situation I don’t ever want to be in) this is a cake I could remember how to make and would wow the judges. Can’t wait to try other fruits and berries!
I am from the extreme south of the German Black Forest and grew up with this cake. We used to eat it as is with potato soup, lentils or any kind of full meal soup as a typical week day meal and also made it with apples and cherries. On Sundays it was served with a generous amount of whipped cream and was just as delicious !
I have lived in Mexico City for the last 20 years and we have no cherries, purple plums or good apples and if we have them, they come from Chile and unfortunately have no flavor…:o(. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
Looks delicious! I’m intrigued about an apple variation. But apples are so different than stone fruits. Would you recommend changing anything for drier fruits like apples? Would you cut the apples into a small dice, do you think?
I love these classic, simple cake recipes. This is a very timely post, because the organic black plums continue to be just beautiful, and Italian prune plums should be appearing in the markets soon. Thank you for posting this.
Oh – this torte. I know. I started making it about 2 years ago after reading about it in the NY Times cookbook. How could one resist making one of the top requested recipes to the newspaper? And indeed, it is SO easy. I’ve made it 3-4 times, I suppose. One does have to wait for plums to be in season! The cake is a real winner.
Years ago I hired a pastry cook based on her bringing in one of these tortes as a sample of her wares. Thank you for reminding me of this recipe. I am going to make it today using some of the 30# of peaches I picked yesterday.
It’s in the oven, though I did use Italian Prune Plums so it won’t be so nice and ruby red. Hopefully the purple skins will neutralize the snotty green insides! Or maybe it will be one interesting looking dessert. I can’t wait. Thanks Tim!
I actually do cardamom and not cinnamon for this cake. or rather i do barely a pinch of cinnamon… i’m a sucker for cardamom these days and like it a little more than just cinnamon. i actually might make this cake today – or tomorrow, depending on when i pick up my head from book edits.
No cinnamon in the panty -damn still have to fill that… I did ginger instead. I hate messing with original recipes – you can’t bitch about it if it’s fit for the floor… But it was fine. Cinnamon is on its way… Certainly by Thanksgiving anyway. It made for a yummy dinner – Thanks
Aaaaah. Oh to be closer to the West coast and a seasonslly-laden apricot tree in my yard. Aaaaapricots are my favourite fruit to bake into a cake like this & let them get all jammy. I am *totally* trying grapes. Oh well, at least the plums are available. I see a cake for goûter in my near future:::
Someone just gave me a bag of fresh figs, so I’ll try a fig variation. Don’t know about figs and cinnamon….I’m thinking orange zest and crushed fennel seed. I also like the idea of a bit of almond flour.
Gorgeous cake :-) Thanks so much for posting it, Tim. I’ve made it twice since you posted it.
My mother always used to melt the butter to make the cake more moist and what mother says is always best, isn’t it? But when I took the pan to melt the butter, there was still some coconut oil sitting in it, so I decided to swap the butter for coconut oil. Having started swapping, I swapped the sugar for palm sugar and reduced the amount a little and I then swapped the flour for half kamut flour and half ground hazelnuts. Because I needed lemon juice, I decided could as well add the grated rind to the cake batter. And last but not least, I was so engrossed in my swapping act, nearly everything was already in the bowl an no way to extract the sugar from it to whip it with the coconut oil first. So I put everything in the bowl and mixed it for a few minutes until it became a bit lighter and fluffier. It worked great. Easy, healthy and delicious.
I can confirm that this is a very easy and quick cake. I made it in the break between two PBS programs I was watching last night — honest. It baked for 50 minutes while I watched the show. I used Italian plums from Seedling that I bought at Chicago’s Green City Market on Saturday. The cake tasted as good as it looked. I will definitely make it again and experiment with different fruits depending on the season. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
This is almost identical to the Cranberry Torte recipe you kindly shared form “Wintersweet” except it uses baking powder not baking soda, slightly less sugar and no extract. I absolutely LOVE the Cranberry Torte recipe and make it constantly. Can you tell me what the difference would be between baking powder and soda in this cake? Negligible? Also, if you have time – I posted a question in the Cranberry Torte thread asking about using frozen cranberries..it’s still good but they are a touch chewy. Should I defrost before adding? Thanks again for all the stories and recipes. My very favourite blog!
Hi LouLou!Thanks! They are basically the same recipe, with small adjustments in flavor. My guess is that the Wintersweet lady had near the NY Times. They both call for baking powder. Baking soda would not work because there is no acid. As for the second question, I have never tried either with frozen fruit, so I have no idea. I would not have thought it mattered with cranberries, maybe you just had some chewy cranberries? I would not try frozen plums. A. They are supposed to plum halves. and B. stone fruit tends to release a lot of water from frozen which might not be ideal here. Hope that helps….
I made this last night- my boyfriend said he was about to hop in the shower & then we were going to watch a tv program. I told him I was going to make a cake while he was in the shower. He was incredibly skeptical (I *may* be notorious for underestimating how long things will take) but I was putting the plums on top by the time he wandered back in the kitchen. Better yet, it tastes awesome! I was thinking about what to do with the plums I have leftover, but now I’m thinking I’ll just make another one of these!
Many thanks for the thoughtful response. Will have to taste test with frozen versus fresh cranberries as the Season is already here again. I must have misread the baking powder/soda in this recipe somehow. On your advice, will skip using my frozen plum bounty and save it for jam/chutney instead. Still looking forward to experimenting with this one though. Best wishes, LouLou.
Thank you for this delicious recipe. I’ve never made cake before, but since this recipe didn’t look difficult, I thought I might as well give it a try and it turned out so good! Next time I made it I didn’t even need to look at my notes. So thank you again, because now I am so inspired to try other recipes as well.
There is a similar recipe in Joy of Cooking called Plum Cake Cockaigne that I’ve made for years. Although I’m sure it would be good made with other fruits, I’m also sure the plums are what make it extra special. In fact, I would have to say this is a cake made in heaven and you’re missing out if you don’t try it with plums. By the way, it’s really good for breakfast. Must try it with maple syrup!
tim, you introduced you to my now late summer favourite cake, you know the nigel slater recipe. and now you have given me this for autumn. i had a baking disaster yesterday and had friends coming over for afternoon tea. so i whipped this up whilst putting together cucumber sandwiches. it went down a treat. i am looking forward to a slice today as i am certain that it will taste better today than yesterday! thanks ever so much.
It is plum season once again so I made this cake to great acclaim for a birthday dinner last weekend to use up Italian plums from Mick Klug at Chicago’s Green City Market. The plums became jammy and intensely sweet during baking. We served it warm with a little vanilla icecream, but leftovers were equally scrummy with tea the next morning. I’ve made this again and again with different fruits and it’s alway a hit. I hate to undercut the praise I receive by sharing how easy it is to make.
I made two of these this weekend. Neither looked like the photos (my plums sunk a bit more) but so flavorful. A 8.5mo pregnant woman walked across the building to my office for a second piece. No one picked them as plums, just that it was delicious. I am working my way thorugh the easier cakes on the site, but I think this is my go-to for events from now on.
9″ springform. Thought maybe I was supposed to blot them first ror something. (I dont really think I care if they sink – it tastes amazing) You’ve sold me on your love of baked fruit and I think you forever for that!! Cheers!!