Purple Plum Torte-Bánh Mận Tím Nướng

Vietnamese food

This recipe was adapted from The Famous Plum Cake, originally called Fruit Torte by Marian Burros from The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook. It was published in The New York Times almost every year from 1983 to 1995.  Adapted from New York Times. My family like smaller plum pieces (Cut one plum into 8 pieces) better.  The ripe plums will keep the shape better but the overripe (soft) plums can be used in the cake too.  If you pick your plums choose the ones dark deep purple and still firm but not hard.  The flesh and skin yield slightly under your fingers when you squeeze it gently.

1/4 lb unsalted butter (1/2 cup, 1 stick), room temperature
3/4 cup plus 1-2 Tbs sugar, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
24 halves pitted Italian (aka Prune, Purple) plums (about 1 pound)
1 tsp ground cinnamon (less or more for taste)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 oF with a rack at lower third position.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. Use a handheld or standing electric mixer to cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until light in color at medium speed.  Add eggs, vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Add  the dry ingredients, beat at low speed until just combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl  as necessary.
  4. Transfer the batter to a 8 or 9-inch ungreased springform pan.  Cover the top with the plums, skin side up.  Mix the cinnamon with the remaining 1-2 Tbs sugar and sprinkle over the top.
  5. Put the pan in a rimmed baking tray.  Bake until the top and side light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean about 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven. Let it cool down on a wire rack about 10 minutes.  Use a small knife running along the side, release the side of cake pan.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature plain or with Vanilla ice cream.  Store at room temperature up to 2 days, the cake tastes best the day after. Refrigerate or freeze if desired but first wrap it in foil and place in a plastic bag and seal.  Thaw completely before warming up in 350 oF oven or toaster oven like bread. 


  • I think we can use our favorite yellow butter cake here but I haven’t tried it yet.
  • I add vanilla extract in the cake batter and slice the plum in 8 pieces lengthwise, mix them with 1/4 cup sugar and let it sit in the fridge for three hours and take it out, drain and preserved the juice and start to cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar… and add juice into the batter at the end and mix well before transfer the batter to the ungreased springform pan without any sugar or cinnamon on the top but it tastes wonderful. 
  • The cake is very easy to be removed from the side and only need a little help with a small knife to get the bottom off the base but I think grease the pan needed if you do not have a springform pan.

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