NYT Original Plum Torte

This NYT Original Plum Torte recipe has a storied history.  Seems that the NY Times published this recipe every September from 1983-1989, to herald the end-of-summer fruit season.  Much to the chagrin of its readers, the recipe stopped being published and the outcry was tremendous.  I can understand why!

This recipe produces a lovely moist cake that is full of ripe plum slices and topped with sugar and cinnamon that bakes into a crunchy topping for this amazing torte!

As animated as the NY Times readers became with the disappearance of the recipe, you can rest assured that you will always find it here!

The original recipe in 1983 called for 1 cup of sugar but was then lowered to 3/4 cup by 1989.  I prefer using the lower amount so that the tartness of the plums can come through.  

Cream the butter and sugar together and add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Add the salt, baking powder and flour and mix until just fully combined.

Pour the batter into a prepared cake pan.  I like to use a springform pan as it’s easier to dislodge the cake from the pan, but if you don’t have one, you can use a regular 8 or 9-inch pan.  Just flip the cake quickly over once it’s baked and then flip back again to cool completely.

Anyhow, arrange the plum slices over the batter skin side up.  The original recipe calls for plum halves, but I prefer wedges.  

Dust the top of the cake with cinnamon and sugar and then bake for 35-45 minutes.  The plums should be juicy and bubbling and the top should be golden.

Let the torte cool before releasing it from the springform pan.  Enjoy this beloved recipe!

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NYT Original Plum Torte

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 35-45 minutes

Total Time: 45-55 minutes


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 or 6 ripe plums, pitted and cut into wedges or halves, or 12 small, ripe Italian plums
  • Additional sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ or 9″ springform or cake pan, and grease and line the bottom with a parchment round if using a cake pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and light. Scrape the bowl again.

Add the salt, baking powder, and flour, and mix just until fully combined.

Pour the batter into the cake pan. Arrange the plum wedges or halves, skin side up, on top of the cake. Feel free to crowd them in there; the cake will rise around them. Dust with a little sugar and the cinnamon.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the cake, or until a cake tester comes out clean, and the plums are juicy and bubbling.

Let cool before releasing the cake from the springform pan or turning out onto a dish.

Chef’s Notes:

A springform pan is preferable because the batter is a bit delicate. But if you are turning this cake out from a regular cake pan, never fear. Place a cooling rack directly over the cake pan, then in one swift, meaningful motion, flip the cake onto the rack. Remove the parchment. Then immediately flip it right side up again onto the serving plate.

Marian Burros’s easy plum torte recipe, originally featured in the New York Times, is an absolutely essential late-summer dessert.

Ms. Burros’s original cake recipe says you can bake this in an 8-, 9-, or 10-inch cake pan. But I prefer an 8-inch or 9-inch pan to give the cake a little more height. Baking times will vary slightly depending on which you choose.

Recipe by Marian Burro via NY Times


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