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Marian's Plum Torte

Marian Burros, originally published in The New York Times

Serves 6

Marian Burros' Plum Torte, The New York Times
Photo by:  

Asha Loupy

Marian Burros' Plum Torte recipe was originally published in The New York Times in 1983. Since then it has become a summer staple in houses across America (so many of you said you grew up eating this, and we love to hear it!).

Of course, we wouldn't be Diaspora if we didn't spice it up a little bit. In this version, we add lots of freshly grated nutmeg to the batter and up the salt from a pinch to almost a teaspoon. The topping of granulated sugar, cinnamon and a little more nutmeg is A MUST, giving this torte plum cake donut vibes. Serve on its own, or top with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream or your favorite ice cream.

Other spices you could use instead of nutmeg would be Baraka or Iniya Cardamon, Anamalai Mace, Makhir Ginger (use 1 teaspoon if you're using this one), or any combination of these for spicy, plum-y perfection.

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  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated Anamalai Nutmeg, plus more for topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8–12 purple plums, pitted & halved
  • Lemon juice, granulated white sugar and Peni Miris Cinnamon for topping 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8-to10-inch round, springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To prepare the batter, place the sugar, butter and nutmeg in a large bowl and cream, using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
  3. Spoon the batter into the reserved springform pan and top with the plums, skin side up. Squeeze a spritz of lemon juice over the top, sprinkle generously with sugar and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little bit of freshly grated nutmeg.
  4. Bake until the plums are jammy and the cake is cooked through, about 1 hour. Place on a baking rack and let cool to warm or room temperature. To serve, remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy on its own or with whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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