Marion Burros' Original Fall Plum Torte

You know I am not a fruit lover.

I love an apple cake, I like citrus in most desserts, figs (no brainer) and in-season cherries. That's where it ends. (That's actually more that I thought I liked!).

Though plums are not my favorite, they are so ripe and beautiful now, with that dusty blue purplish hue, that I always buy them.

The weather is a bit cooler now, so it's time to start baking again.

This dessert is so simple and delicious. It's not too sweet and it showcases whatever fruit you like.

You can use this cake as a base for an apple or peach cake, it's a no brainer and can be whipped up in no time at all.

The original recipe calls for 24 halved plums, which is 12 plums, which would not fit in a 9" springform pan, so I reduced the amount to 4 plums, and I quartered them. Not sure why some recipes just don't read right. It also calls for an hour baking time, but my cake was well done after 45 minutes, so keep an eye on it.

It is from Marion Burros, originally printed in the New York Times, many moons ago.

Go get some ripe plums and make this beauty.

Marion Burros' Plum Torte (adapted from the New York Times):

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
4 ripe pitted purple plums, cut into quarters or slices
juice of half a lemon
sugar and cinnamon for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. Cream sugar and butter in a bowl. Add flour, baking powder, salt and eggs, and beat well.

3. Spoon the batter into a 9" springform pan (you can use any pan, really). Place the plum quarters skin side up on top, pushing them into the batter.

Squeeze lemon juice all over the fruit and sprinkle lightly with sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, or to taste.

4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Easy Peasy.

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The JR said…
I bought plums yesterday. But, since I don't have that beautiful figure you have, I'll have to pass on making a dessert and just eating them out of hand.

Out tomorrow. Happy weekend.
Ciao Chow Linda said…
This is one of my favorites and my fall-back cake if nothing else inspires me. I usually use those Italian plums. I got the recipe from my dad's wife and never knew it was Marion Burros' until one day I saw it in a cookbook of hers that I've had for probably 40 years - "Come for Cocktails, Stay for Supper." That's showing my old age, for sure! A great recipe to hold onto for another couple of decades, I hope.
Catherine said…
Looks splendid. Have you ever used damsons for making? They are hard to find here in the UK.
I'm driving 35 miles one way to the store tomorrow to get plums. This looks fabulous. I love, love plums.... Many thanks.... have a great weekend.
Anonymous said…
I have made this many times. Always use the dark-skinned Italian prune plums, which are in our stores for a brief period starting about now! The only thing I do differently is fill the top of the cake fairly solidly with the halved plums.

If I can select my own, I opt for smaller ones though none are usually big. The best deal is a 4# clamshell at Costco. Leftovers can be frozen in bags as is. Or one can look for the grat recipes Laurie Colwin came up with for these. I make her recipe for an oven-baked sort of compote which sits (for not long) in my refrigerator, ready to go over ice cream or be eaten out of the jar with a spoon when no one is looking.

These Italian plums are rather blah eating, IMO. The richly pigmented skin is where the main blast of rich flavor resides, and cooking releases it. Absolutely delectable.

Anonymous said…
PS. Re filling the top of the cake solidly with halved plums, I hasten to add that they are just side by side, edges touching, in concentric circles. Not overlapping each other.

Anonymous said…
Found this discourse on plum jam-making. I don't agree with her on the Italian prune plums. They make great jam, but need some lemon juice (most jams benefit from some lemon juice, IMO, and my Harrod's jam book always seems to include it).

Catherine mentioned damsons. This writer is enamored of them. I had only heard of them in the UK.

Anonymous said…
If you use the little Prune Plums, and arrange the halves cheek-to-jowl, 24 pieces fit beautifully. Chunks of peach (with blueberries too!) are delicious in this recipe. Can't even count the number of times I've made this cake -- it's a keeper.
sixty-five said…
Agree with all who mentioned that the original recipe called for the little Italian prune plums. Lately I have been using them to make a quick skillet compote for one: Halve and saute about 3 plums in a little butter. Sprinkle w cinnamon and a tiny bit of some good kind of sugar (demerara, etc). Add a handful of frozen blueberries and continue to cook for a minute or so to thaw the berries. Serve with a blob of sour cream. Heaven! (and of course endlessly variable - today I included a spoonful of marmalade)