Book CoverIf there is a sweeter, more perfect end-of-summer dessert out there than a plum cake, I want to know about it. What could be better than a simple cake made with plenty of butter and almonds, and studded with juicy, sun-ripened fruit? Today's Cook the Book recipe, the last to be excerpted from A Platter of Figs by David Tanis, is for a homey Italian Plum Cake. Tanis prefers small plums with dark purple skins, sometimes called prune or Stanley plums, but chose whatever looks best at your local farmers' market this weekend.

This cake is best served within a few hours of baking. Top slices with scoops of cinnamon ice cream, or accompany with warm mugs of tea.

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Cook the Book: Italian Plum Cake

About This Recipe

Yield:one 10-inch cake


  • 1 cup unblanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus about 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons sweet butter, melted butter
  • 2 pounds Italian plums, pitted and sliced thickly


  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 10-inch tart pan or springform pan. Put the almonds and 1/2 cup sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse once more.

  2. 2

    Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk and stir in the melted butter. Add the egg mixture and whisk for a minute or two until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula. Arrange the plum slices on top on a circular pattern. Sprinkle sugar generously over the plums. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a pairing knife inserted into the center comes out clean.


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