Selma’s Plum & Cinnamon Cake

When I first met Selma through Fiesta Friday, I let her know that the “About” page on her blog was truly one of the best and the most interesting I’d ever read. I even had my husband read it! She was a wonderful writer and described her life and culinary journey so beautifully. Her blog was no different- such great recipes with stories to go with them.

I particularly loved this post on Selma’s Table. (I’ve had it bookmarked to make ever since I read it the first time!) Not only did the cake look and sound wonderful, Selma told a great story about it that I could really relate to… She describes how her son Jake was always cooperative but frustrated waiting for his meals to be photographed. (My entire family may have the same complaint!) After making this delicious cake, Selma set it aside to rest overnight only to find a large slice messily cut out of it in the morning! I suppose her son’s patience had run out. 😉 Maybe this cake was just that irresistible.

I am bringing this cake as a tribute to Selma at this special Fiesta Friday in her honor. I was shocked and saddened by her passing. She touched and influenced so many and will be truly missed. This recipe was adapted from Marian Burros’ Famous Purple Plum Torte and Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen Purple Plum Torte, via Selma’s Table. According to Selma, this recipe was printed every autumn in the New York Times from 1983 until 1995! You know it’s good. Thank you, Selma. ❤

Yield: Serves 8

  • 140 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 115 g (8 T/ one stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 2 large ripe, tart plums (I used red)
  • 4 small ripe, tart plums (I used black) (Selma used 8 medium plums)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T turbinado sugar
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees on convection. Prepare a 9-inch springfrom pan by lining it with parchment paper and then buttering the base and sides. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  2. Halve the plums and twist to remove the pits, then cut each half into quarters; set aside. (Selma quartered the plums, and the original recipe halves them.)
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; whisk to incorporate the 3 ingredients throughly.
  4. Place the butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl or stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated – scrape down the sides after each addition. It may look curdled but if you add a spoonful of the flour mixture all will be well again.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the vanilla paste/extract and beat only just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape under to make sure that there is no raw flour and mix in if there is.
  7. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth it out to cover the base. It will seem very scant but don’t worry – it will be enough!
  8. Arrange the plums from the outside into the middle, keeping it quite tight. (I placed mine skin side down- like Selma- but the original recipe places them skin side up.)
  9. Scatter the cinnamon and turbinado sugar over the top.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the cakey part – if no batter is left clinging to it then it’s done. If there is batter clinging to it then pop it back in for 5 mins increments and keep checking.
    Try and make this the night before to let it mellow, covered and at room temperature, when it will be at it’s best.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

22 responses to “Selma’s Plum & Cinnamon Cake

  1. Your tart came out beautifully Josette! This tribute to Selma was wonderful! I am enjoying reading the experiences everyone had, and she treated everyone like a close friend. We were so lucky to know her in our blogosphere.

  2. The cake is beautiful Josette, I have also had this recipe bookmarked. Love the story, isn’t it the truth, everyone has to wait until the food is photographed. Such a lovely tribute to Selma.

  3. You know, I’ve been making a similar cake but with peaches. I don’t know why I’ve never tried plums. I think I should. You and Selma, two trusted cooks, have convinced me. Thanks, Josette! XOXO

  4. Sue

    Hahahahaha I loved this post of hers too and one of these days that’s going to happen to me too! You’ve done right by Selma here with this beautiful cake. Thank you so much for joining us. I have been eager to see what you in particular were going to choose to make!

  5. What a beautiful tribute, Josette. ❤

  6. The tart looks beautiful Josette! What a lovely tribute.

  7. Hi Josette, I remember that post and that story too!! Selmas cake looked amazing then as yours does now, a perfect tribute xxx

  8. She was indeed an amazing writer, Josette. No matter how long, she made it sounded so interesting. This is a beautiful tribute for Selma. Thanks for being here. xx

  9. Oh I remember this story 😀. What a lovely tribute to dear Selma!!❤️
    Such a rustic and charming cake!!

  10. A beautiful cake Josette, love the ingredients, and I remember when Selma posted hers. We are all going to miss her so very much. But we are all lucky to have had our paths crossed, she touched everyone she came in contact with despite what she was going through internally. A true angel!

  11. Pingback: Selma’s Plum & Cinnamon Cake | homethoughtsfromabroad626

  12. Pingback: 23 Plum Cakes And Tarts You Need To Bake | FoodInspirasi

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