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Purple Plum Torte

October 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon


I adapted Deb Perelman’s recipe for a Purple Plum Torte to make an almost sugar-free version. Deb wrote in her Smitten Kitchen blog post that her recipe was an adaptation of the very popular version made famous by Marian Burros.

Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook, says the Marian Burros recipe is the most often requested and published recipe in the New York Times. When she was looking for recipes to include in her book, she had 265 people rave about the Purple Plum Torte. So now it can be forever found in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Both Deb and Amanda point out that you can really use any fruit for this torte, but purple Italian plums are especially good when they’re in season.

This Purple Plum Torte is best made the day before you serve it, making it a perfect dessert for entertaining.

(Be sure to check out Deb’s photos of her Purple Plum Torte to see how lovely it can be when it’s baked in a springform pan instead of a pie plate.)


Italian Plum Torte


Purple Plum Torte

(Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen version, which is adapted from the Marian Burros recipe. Amanda Hesser included the Marian Burros recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.)


(print the recipe)


I used granulated Swerve sweetener in the cake batter and maple sugar to sprinkle on the top. Substitute regular sugar if you wish.

A 9-inch springform pan is recommended for this recipe. I used my 9½-inch pie plate. It worked fine, although the presentation would be better if a springform pan were used.


13 purple Italian plums (I could only fit 11 on my cake)

Italian prune plums


1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Large pinch of salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated Swerve sweetener (or ¾ – 1 cup sugar)

2 large eggs

11 – 12 smallish purple Italian plums, halved and pitted

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of maple sugar (or 1 tablespoon sugar)


  1. Heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sweetener (or sugar) together with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until it is fluffy and light.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.
  5. Add the flour mixture and beat until it is just combined.
  6. Spread the cake batter into an ungreased 9½-inch pie pan (or ungreased 9-inch springform pan) and smooth out the top.
  7. Put the plums, skin-side up all over the cake.
  8. Sprinkle the cake with the lemon juice, and then the cinnamon and maple sugar (or sugar).

Ready to bake

Sprinkled with maple sugar and cinnamon.jpg


9. Bake the cake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no cake batter. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the cake’s temperature will be 210° when it’s done.)

10. Cool the cake on a rack and then cover it and leave it overnight at room temperature before serving the next day.


Baked and cooling on a rack.jpg


Italian Plum Torte - Copy.jpg


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