3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt (optional)
24 halves pitted purple plums
Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
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. 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 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.
To freeze, double-wrap the torte in foil, place in a plastic bag and seal. To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.
1. Replace the plums with almost any seasonal fruit: apricots, halved and pitted; cranberries or any summer berry; sliced apples, nectarines, peaches and pears. Canned and frozen fruit can stand in for fresh. Reader comments:
–Made this for the first time using 4 cups of blueberries and raspberries (mixed). It was perfect!
–I’ve been using a version of this for years as a cranberry holiday bread.
–I have made this with about a quart of drained canned fruit of any type, as well as frozen. I can plums, peaches and pears in season, and if a jar fails to seal, you can bake this cake with it rather than reprocess the jar.
2. Experiment with spices, herbs and extracts: vanilla extract, almond extract, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, rosemary, orange or lemon zest. Reader comments:
–I add about a half teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract to the batter. This cake is so easy and good. I even memorized the recipe — except my memorization was imperfect and I baked the cake with the fruit on the bottom by accident. It still was delicious!
–I added a teaspoon of finely minced fresh rosemary to the batter… nice, subtle flavor.
3. Play with the flours. You can add almond or cornmeal flour to the all-purpose flour, or swap in gluten-free flour blends, with excellent results. (Melissa Clark made a version with whole wheat flour.) Reader comments:
Made this with gluten-free flour and it turned out Perfectly! Everyone loved it.
I substituted 1/2 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup brown rice flour for 1 cup of wheat flour. I also added parchment paper over the greased bottom of the spring pan. It was delicious served warm.
Made this last night after tasting the one made by our daughter. Used raspberries and blackberries, one basket each, instead of plums, and 1/3 cup cornmeal and 2/3 cup flour. Fantastic!!! The cornmeal adds a very sophisticated “Italian” character to it, very slight crunch, and amazing flavor.
4. Double, triple, even quadruple it. The batter scales up like a dream, and the baked cake freezes well. Reader comments:
This is one of my favorite recipes and has been for many years. In addition to plums, I’ve used blueberries, peaches, apples and various combinations of more than one fruit. It also freezes great. I line the baking dish with aluminum foil and once baked and cooled slightly, turn the baking dish upside down on a plate, peel off the foil, then turn it right-side up on another plate.
Double the recipe and it fits nicely in 13-by-9-inch disposable aluminum pans.
5. Change up the pan. The torte can be baked in any dish provided it’s approximately 8 to 10 inches in diameter and oven-safe.
Make it in any Pyrex, casserole, anything.
Used my pie plate because my springform pan was nowhere to be found.
A 9-inch pan gives greater height and moisture to the tart than a 10-inch pan.