The Most Famous Plum Torte Ever, Veganized

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This vegan plum cake is easy.  Unbelievably easy.  A perfect lazy Sunday cake.  Go on.  Treat yourself this Sunday.  Cream some sugar and vegan margarine, mix in some yoghurt, flour, baking powder.  Top with halved and pitted plums and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and what comes out of the oven?  Pure magic.  Soft and incredibly moist, with pools of tart plums that have melted into a nearly jam-like consistency, the sugar balancing out the sourness of the plums.  This cake is just as good the next day, and the day after that.  And to top it off, it freezes well.

You can see why this cake is famous.  Yes, this is the most famous plum cake of all time.  First printed in the New York Times in 1983, this Marian Burros recipe appeared every plum season thereafter until editors pulled the plug in 1995 and told readers to print it off and laminate it (these were the days before the internet immortalised this and other recipes).  It’s been written about on countless websites, such as Food52, The Kitchn and Smitten Kitchen (where I first came across it, and knew I had to make it).  The butter was easy to replace – simply sub vegan margarine.  As for the eggs, I briefly considered flax seeds, but I thought they’d add too much nutty flavour, or banana, but ditto on the overpowering flavor.  So I’ve gone with vegan yoghurt, because the flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and it keeps the cake moist and fluffy.  Thanks to the baking powder, you don’t need to worry about the cake rising – it rises just fine without the eggs.






Plum Torte


  • 1 cup (200 g) plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) vegan margarine
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose or plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) non-dairy yogurt
  • 8-10 small plums, halved and pitted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Heat oven to 350 F / 180 C / gas mark 4, and lightly grease an 8-inch round cake tin.
  2. Cream the margarine and 1 cup of sugar together until combined and fluffy.  Add the flour and baking powder and mix to combine.
  3. Add the yogurt, and mix all ingredients together, then spoon batter into the cake tin.  Smooth the top down and add the pitted, halved plums, skin side up.
  4. Sprinkle lemon juice on the plums to make the surface wet so it will stick, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon on top.
  5. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (of batter, not plum juice).
  6. Cool on a rack.


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24 thoughts on “The Most Famous Plum Torte Ever, Veganized”

  1. We made this last night and it was delicious. It was so simple and quick and tasty (and looks great). I didn’t have vegan yogurt but had vegan cream cheese and used that instead in equal amount. I highly recommend!

  2. I have made this plum torte quite a few times now and it is my go-to recipe. This time I TRIPLED it because it went so fast in our house. Luckily our friend has tons of organic plum trees of many varieties, so I mixed them together. This is the easiest and most delicious baked good I have made to date. Thank you for this recipe!

  3. I made this last night and it tasted fine, but it stuck to the pan (despite greasing it beforehand). Any ideas what went wrong? Perhaps I baked it too long?

    • Hmm, that’s weird, it hasn’t done that to me before, perhaps it was a case of baking too long. How did the top look, was it browning? Was the pan nonstick? Perhaps try using some parchment paper on the bottom or baking for a bit less time. Let me know how it goes!

  4. Not sure if you’re still responding to comments but the cake part became like pudding after baking instead of baking into a fine cake crumb. It tastes great. What did I do wrong?

    • Hmm…sounds like it didn’t fully bake through. Maybe try baking it a little longer than the recommended 45-50 minutes. These times can vary depending on your oven model (ovens SAY they are at a certain temperature but sometimes they can be off by up to 20 degrees!). After it’s baked through, you should be able to put a toothpick (or fork) into the cake and have the toothpick come out clean. If the toothpick has cake batter stuck to it then the cake needs to be baked for longer. Hope that helps! Let me know if it works.

  5. Caitlin, this has always been one of my family’s favorite desserts. Yesterday I made this torte using apricots (left over from jam making) instead of plums. It was as yummy as the plum version and got a big thumbs up from my family. Thank you, as always, for all your great recipes.

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! I’m so pleased that it’s one of your family’s favourite desserts!! :D So glad it worked well with apricots – sounds absolutely delicious! I’ll have to try it with apricots too next time I make it.


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Caitlin Galer-Unti

Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’ve been vegan since 2008 and vegetarian my whole life. Since going vegan, I’ve lived in 4 countries and travelled to over 30! I’ve also published two bestselling vegan books (The Essential Vegan Travel Guide and The Barcelona Vegan Guide) and had my work featured in The New York Times, Vegetarian Food & Living and Vegan Life magazine. I’ve veganised my life and I’m here to help you design your life around your vegan values. 


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