Plum Almond Cake

plum almond cake Every summer around this time of year I look forward to those tiny dark Italian plums that start to appear at the farm stands and markets, as soon as I see them I scoop them up to make a cake or a torte. Last year I made the Purple Plum Torte from the N.Y. Times Cookbook.

plum almond cake

This year I couldn’t wait to make the Plum Almond Cake from Williams Sonoma’s Rustic Italian by Domenica Marchetti, and I’m so glad I did, its my new favorite!

plum almond cake I could go on and on about how fabulous this recipe is but you’re just going to have to make it for yourself. I loved the texture of the crumb, there’s almond meal added in and it makes the texture and taste so amazing.

plum almond cake

There’s also almond flavoring throughout, but what seals the deal for me is the crunchy almond topping, so much flavor in each bite!

plum almond cake

The plums get all jammy as they bake and a pretty ruby red color appears, such a wonderful dessert, I hope you make it!

If you can’t find the small Italian plums I’m sure any variety would be just as good, in fact I think any stone fruit would work just fine.

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Here’s a link to the original recipe, below is my adapted version.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Plum Almond Cake
Adapted from Williams -Sonoma's Rustic Italian by Domenica Marchetti
  • ½ cup avocado oil
  • 1 cup, unbleached flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons, baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon, salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup, half and half
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon, pure almond extract
  • 9 Italian plums, halved and pitted
  • ¼ cup of sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8 inch springform pan then dust with flour and tap out the excess.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In another bowl combine the oil, egg, half and half, zest and juice, sugar and almond extract, blend together.
  4. Add the wet to the dry whisking until combined.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan, arrange plums on top of batter, cut side up.
  6. Mix together the 2 Tablespoons of sugar, almonds and butter, then dot the topping all over the cake.
  7. Bake for around 45 minutes, I put my pan on a rimmed baking sheet for easy in and out of the oven.
  8. I ended up baking mine a little more because the color wasn't deep enough and ovens do vary, just make sure the center comes out clean.
  9. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes before you remove the ring and cut into it.


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  1. Michele Scala says

    Hi Marie
    So funny how you posted this while i cant wait to bake the Marion Burros plum torte….this also looks Fantastic!!!
    I love almond meal for cakes!! Will be making this as well. Havnt seen the Italian prune plums yet but should be in a few weeks.
    Question….can you use a mild olive oil here??

  2. Oh my goodnes, Marie! I know what I want to try making this weekend! Your version looks delicious!

  3. Oh, what a beautiful cake. Complimenti, Marie. Almond meal lends such a pleasing bite, and what better way to make use of wonderful summer plums!

    Domenica’s book is a classic. Each page reveals something wonderful. Everyone ought to make room on their shelf for it.

    I hope you are enjoying your summer.

  4. This looks so yummy but avacodo oil and almond meal?? Some of these ingredients are not readily available to alot of us…is there something similar we could sub for either of those? That’s the problem with alot of online recipes, either too many or not readily available ingredients for most of us out here..ugh!
    Help…Would love to try this as I have an Italian plum tree bursting right now! 🙂

    • No worries Christina, you can use vegetable oil, or canola oil and for the almond meal/flour just grind up whole almonds until it turns into flour, hope this helps you’ll love it!

    • Marie is right, Christina. The original recipe calls for veg oil (I use sunflower oil) ~ though I must say I’m curious about the avocado oil, as i’ve never tried it before! As for the almond meal, you can find it just about anywhere these days, including Trader Joes. I think Bob’s Red Mill also makes it. You can grind almonds, but they are always more coarse than the almond meal, and you have to be careful not to grind them too much or you’ll end up with almond paste. I would recommend looking for the almond meal (also known as almond flour). Hope this helps!

  5. I’ve been meaning to make this for a while! Just hubby and I in the house so I like to wait to make it whenever we have birthdays or entertain our family. Your cake looks beautiful. Have a great weekend!!

  6. Thanks so much!

  7. Marie, your cake is gorgeous. It practically glows. I’ve never tried avocado oil, and now I am curious. I’m hoping to find some of those Italian plums at this week’s farmer’s market so I can make this cake, as I haven’t made it since last summer. Thank you for the kind shout-out. xo

  8. Ciao Chow Linda says

    Marie – You certainly made Domenica proud with your cake. I have made the Marion Burros recipe dozens of times, but I can’t wait to try Domenica’s version. The almonds on top really make this special.

  9. Wow. You did Domenica proud, Marie. I’ve made the Marion Burros recipe dozens of times, and can’t wait to try Domenica’s version. Those almonds on top take it to another level. So many wonderful recipes in her book.

  10. I made Domenica’s plum torte last year, but I like your addition of avocado oil! I will try it!
    I have a lot of plums here…..just made a plum cake the other day, this is next up for the baking addict.


  11. laura in san diego says

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it last weekend with the plums from a neighbor’s tree (substituted avo for canola oil) for a picnic with friends and it was gobbled up! I actually took a second helping it was SO delicious!!! This is a KEEPER!

  12. laura in seattle says

    Thanks so much for this delicious recipe and photos! I made it from he neighbor’s Italian plums and brought it to a bbq last weekend, where it was devoured. It’s my new keeper recipe!!!!

  13. Sagar Matha says

    OMG Marie you are just a genius. I don’t know how you come up with all these beautiful recipes. They are so colourful and I have tried a few and they come out really well. I made this plum torte yesterday. It does seem a little soft. Costco have avocado oil at the moment at a great price. Anyway, I have made it for Thanksgiving (Canadian, next Monday) and so am saving it. Have not tried it yet. I had to make it early as I just got the plums and they would not last too long. I picked at the bottom a bit and it tastes really lemony. I have to make a couple more today as I have a big gathering but am looking forward to tasting it. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

  14. Sagar Matha says

    Marie, I am happy to report that the cake was a big hit. I served it yesterday for dessert with icecream. The cake is delicious. I actually only tasted it this morning. Just wonderful – lemony, almondy goodness. I was wondering if I could make it with almond flour only. I am going to try one with almond flour only but may have to add another egg. I would also like to skip the half and half so perhaps will use homemade almond milk instead and see how that turns out. I don’t like using commercial dairy products hence the substitution – in case you are wondering. Without flour, it would be a good gluten-free alternative. I have a recipe for a cake with almond meal and polenta so I might try this version with 100% almond meal and with half almond meal and half polenta to get away from the flour. Do you have any thoughts about this? Regardless, your recipe is fantastic and I love the fact that it uses avocado oil. Keep those recipes coming.

  15. Sagar Matha says

    It’s me again Marie, I have to report back on my substitutions. Yesterday I made it with 1 cup almond flour, a quarter cup of organic all purpose flour and a 1/4 cup of polenta. I also used half a cup of sheep’s milk yoghurt instead of half and half. The cake turned out delicious. I like both versions. My next trial will be with just 1 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup polenta and the yoghurt for the half and half. This will mean it is gluten free and can easily be vegan with vegan yoghurt or almond milk too. Thank you again for your wonderful recipes.