The Only Cake Recipe You'll Ever Need

by Kelsi in


The internet hardly needs another post on this special cake, or rather torte, but alas I'm doing it anyway. Admittedly, I am rather late to the game with this one. Marian Burros' Plum Torte is an iconic recipe, to put it mildly. It was published in the New York Times every September from 1982 to 1989, "when the editors determined that enough was enough." Without exaggeration, it has been written about by EVERYONE. Even if you don't consider yourself a baker, this is the one cake you should have in your repertoire. It is so easy and you will learn it by heart.  Go print it out perfectly formatted here and then keep it on your fridge. Yes, you will be making it that often.



3/4 cup (150g) sugar

1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (125g) unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 large eggs

24 halves small, Italian prune plums (or as many as will fit on your cake)

Fresh lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon for topping

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Cream the sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs all at once and beat well. Spoon the batter into a 9" springform pan (I put a piece of parchment down so it can be easily lifted from the pan).

Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. (I actually didn't have any Italian plums on hand so I sliced these slightly larger purple plums into quarters.)

Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, approximately, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked mine in my amazing "toaster" oven and it was ready just shy of 40 minutes.

Cool on a rack. If you can stand to wait, this cake actually tastes the very best on the second day. 

It also apparently freezes beautifully. So if you have a plum tree, or a generous neighbor, definitely make more than one of these! Just make sure to double-wrap in foil and seal in a plastic bag before freezing. To serve a torte that has been frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300°F.