plum cake

one 8-inch cake    |   
Prep Time:
20 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
50 minutes

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plum cake

I clipped this recipe from the New York Times in 1986 and I’ve made it every fall since then, when Italian prune plums come into season. I’ve tinkered with it so much that I’m no longer sure where the Marion Burros original stops and mine begins, but isn’t that the way with the best recipes? I also make a variation with cherries in summer.


1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing pan
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 Italian prune plums


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan or other cake pan (see note).

In a stand mixer with the whisk or in a mixing bowl with beaters, beat butter and 1 cup sugar until blended. Add eggs, vanilla, almond extract, lemon zest, and salt and beat until fluffy. Add flour and baking powder and beat just until blended. Spread batter in pan.

Cut plums into quarters, discarding pits. Place, skin sides up, all over batter. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a rack, then slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

note: you can use a round or square 8- or 9-inch cake pan for this and cut it out in slices or squares, but a springform pan lets you unmold the whole cake.