First published in 1983, this plum torte recipe from Marian Burros is one of the most popular on the New York Times cooking website. Besides being easy to make and delicious, it is also versatile. You can substitute any ripe seasonal fruit, such as apricots, cranberries, apples, peaches and pears. You can also vary the pan size, double or even quadruple the recipe and it freezes well.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter does not contain colour. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and make sure the cinnamon does not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Place the batter in a pan, top with plum and sprinkle with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon.

Plum torte


¾ to 1  cup (185 to 250 ml) sugar

½  cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, softened

1  cup (250 ml) unbleached flour, sifted

1  teaspoon (5 ml) baking powder

Pinch of salt (optional)

2  eggs

24  halves pitted purple plums

Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping


Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

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

Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches (20, 22 or 25 cm). Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.

Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. Serves 8. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees F/149 degrees C.)

From the New York Times