The Recipe Files: recipes users forums prefs my page rss help log in

Diantha's Plum Torte

submitted by sarahjane on Jul-19-04
servings: (not specified)

I was told by the person I got this from (a friend of the family) that it's one of the New York Times' best loved and most requested recipes---it's at least from the 1960s, if not even older.. I always mean to research it but haven't yet.

I've made this with plums, apricots, with nectarines and blueberries, etc. The cake itself is a good basic cake recipe, if you find yourself needing such a thing. The more and riper the fruit you can use the better, because it melts down and gets all squashy. It does need to bake for an hour, and then sit on the counter to deflate a bit. It's perfect at room temperature.

8, 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan
1/2 c unsalted butter
3/4 c sugar
1 c un-bleached flour
1 t baking powder
pinch salt (optional)
2 eggs
24 halves pitted plums (IF they are those little plums. My 10 inch springform pan fits about 15 halves. Use your discretion when shopping as to how many plums you need/will fit. They do shrink down.)
sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon for topping.

Preheat oven to 350.

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

Spoon batter into the spring-form pan (you don't have to grease, but you can). Place 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 t cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.

Bake 1 hour. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.

Variation: To make an apple cranberry torte, follow directions for plum torte but peel, seed, quarter and slice 2 or 3 large baking apples. Arrange 1/2 cup of raw cranberries over the batter and top with the apple slices. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon; squeeze 1/2 to 1 T of lemon juice over the apples. Sprinkle with sugar and bake as above.

sarahjane, Aug-29-10 13:29:53:
As it happens, I stumbled across some information about Diantha's cake. It appears to be a very old German recipe called pflaumenkuchen (plum cake), passed down by both Jews and Christians. German Jews served it as a Rosh Hashanah dish.

The recipe has many variations: the "cake" can range from yeasted to more pastry-like, can be either round or rectangular, be with or without streusel topping, feature plums skin-side up or skin side down, and include such ingredients as vanilla, lemon zest, almond extract, apricot jam and even barley flour. What all versions share is a relatively simple, buttery base, with "Italian" "prune" plums pressed into the top.

I made it as a late summer birthday cake, and macerated the plums in brandy, sugar and cinnamon, and added a little lemon zest to the cake. When baked, I dusted the top with icing sugar and served with ice cream and leftover plums.

steveandsarah, Sep-4-10 09:52:15:
There was just an article in the NYTimes about this recipe:

Made me want to try both the original version and the updated whole-wheat version.
sarahjane, Jul-16-11 15:08:38:
Going to make this with cherries today!

add a comment/rating