Original Blackberry Torte

Original Blackberry Torte

I’ve been making little summer cakes all summer long, and one I especially wanted to make was the famous Original Plum Torte by Marion Burros of the New York Times. The Times published this recipe every year from 1983 to 1989 and pledges every year the recipe will be available to all. The more I thought about, though, the more I wanted to forgo the plums and adapt the recipe. So here it is, the Original Blackberry Torte.

Original Blackberry Torte

Original Blackberry Torte – a riff off of Marion Burros Original Plum Torte

So now it seems we have our new favorite summer dessert! Seriously, I could eat this any time, all the time. I’m pretty much obsessed. Sorry chocolate, you’re going to have to move over (again) for this one.

About Original Blackberry Torte:

This is really the perfect little casual cake. The kind of toss together, super simple (if you’re not old like me and can’t remember anything, anymore) easy enough to memorize and toss down at the drop of a hat, cake. Perfect for when you just want a little sumpin’ sumpin’ in the afternoon or need something g easy to make for drop in or last-minute guests. It can be frozen, too, according to the Times, and reheated in the oven but I have yet to try that.

This torte was jammy deliciousness, just sweet enough with the smaller amount of sugar given in the recipe. My blackberries sunk into the cake which is responsible in part for all that jammy deliciousness. They formed a wonderful layer at the bottom of the cake. Now, the New York Times photo for the Original Plum Torte showed the plums at the top of the cake…my guess is that blackberries (and probably other smaller fruit) just aren’t large enough to poke through the batter to the top. No worries though – it is fabulous just as is.

This cake was perfectly delish the first day but began to soften on the second. By the third day, the cake was almost pudding-like in its moistness. If you don’t care for that, I suggest you gobble it all up right away! Which shouldn’t be too hard to do. I served with whipped cream, but ice-cream would be great, too.

Original Blackberry Torte

Original Blackberry Torte

Making Original Blackberry Torte:

Since I was going for pure unadulterated blackberry flavor, I left the suggested teaspoon of cinnamon out of the recipe, just sprinkled the top of the cake before baking with a little sugar. Since I plan on using other fruits, too, who knows; maybe I’ll try it in the future with a little cinnamon’ I wonder how little chunks of apples would be in this cake. As far as the kinds of fruit that can be used besides plums or blackberries, reviewers of the recipe warned to use firm fruit, nothing too juicy.

There really isn’t anything difficult about making this cake. Cream the butter well and make sure it’s at the right temperature, which is soft enough to bend and still hold it’s shape. If it’s too soft, it won’t hold the fruit correctly. Since I’m at the folk’s house and it’s always so hot hot hot here, it might be that my butter was a bit softer, which might be responsible for the fruit sinking. I didn’t toss them in flour, and old trick to keep fruit from sinking since the fruit is simply placed on top of the batter and I was worried I’d have strange, flour-covered berries.

I used a 9″ springform pan but might try it in my 8″ for a little more height, next time, in which case, I’d probably bake it for a couple of minutes longer. A 10-inch pan, one of the suggested sizes would make for a very thin cake.

Saving Money on Original Blackberry Torte:

The only pricey ingredient here was the berries – just pick them up on sale. They’re in and out of the sale on rotation all summer long. Usually, there’s a low around any summer holiday as the grocery stores try to lure you in the door for your holiday shopping. And of course, in season, you could pick your own. 🙂 Prices for berries are decent at both Aldi and your buyer’s club, too, rivaling the grocery store sales price.

If you are flexible about the type of fruit you wish to use, and buy whatever is on sale, you’re likely to spend less, usually about half price, than if you decide to use a certain berry and just pick it up at the store willy nilly, without regard to price.

The rest of the cake is really dirt cheap to make. It’s gotten to the point where I never buy eggs, butter or cream (just in case you wish to serve this with the whipped cream as an accompaniment) at the grocery store any longer unless it’s on a deep sale, usually around holidays. Aldi always has a great price on a pint package of cream and Costco has cream by the quart with a pretty good price. In my area, it’s not quite as good as the Aldi price.

Butter at either Aldi or the Buyer’s Club is usually about the same as a great grocery store sale price. I’ve noticed at Aldi, it will sometimes go on sale around holidays, too! When you see a really low price, pick it up and chuck it in the freezer. I even go so far as to calculate out the weeks until the next great sale and buy enough to last to the next sale.

Original Blackberry Torte

Original Blackberry Torte – a riff off of Marion Burros Original Plum Torte



Original Blackberry Torte

The Original Blackberry Torte is a super easy simple little cake that can be made all summer long at the drop of a hat; Use your choice of fruits!

  • Author: mollie
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


  • ¾ to 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 16 ounces blackberries
  •  Sugar, lemon juice, and/or cinnamon for topping


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs and beat well.

Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice or cinnamon, depending on the sweetness of the fruit.

Bake 40 minutes to 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped or ice-cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)

To freeze, double-wrap the torte in foil, place in a plastic bag and seal.

slightly adapted from the New York Times

Keywords: Desserts, Fruit Desserts, Cake, Blackberries, Marion Burros

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Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 328
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14 g 21 %
Saturated Fat 8 g 39 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 77 mg 26 %
Sodium 47 mg 2 %
Potassium 360 mg 10 %
Total Carbohydrate 48 g 16 %
Dietary Fiber 11 g 42 %
Sugars 28 g
Protein 6 g 13 %
Vitamin A 27 %
Vitamin C 70 %
Calcium 7 %
Iron 12 %


I’ll be posting the Original Blackberry Torte recipe to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #184, hosted this week by  Petra @ Food Eat Love and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

The Original Blackberry Torte is a super easy simple little cake that can be made all summer long at the drop of a hat; Use your choice of fruits! Adapted from Marion Burros of the New York Times. #BlackberryTorte #BlackberryCake


20 thoughts on “Original Blackberry Torte

  1. Hi Mollie– beautiful little cake– I’m with you on fruity summer desserts– and cranberry, apple and pumpkin for fall, Christmas has it’s own sweets and then- finally!– chocolate all winter! We don’t have real weather seasons in CA– but I have definite food seasons at our house! Hope your summer is wrapping up well. More tomatoes?? Any travels?? hugs friend!

    • Just traveling back and forth from SD to MN – My yard is a jungle, my gardens (of which I have many) are completely overgrown, but I’m embracing the natural look (which beats whining, complaining and crying, all of what I was tempted to do!) I left SD with 65 tomatoes (my Dad & I counted but weren’t too thorough, there may be more) all on the vine, none showing any signs of red…I guess we overdid it!! Hugs back to you!!

      • Spaghetti sauce!! (with all those tomatoes!) I was thinking of trying tomato jam (for burgers and BLTs) Have you done that?? Glad your gardens are ‘thriving.” I expect everything will be brown at our house without us there to water all the time! Happy travels back and forth– (we’ll fly through the Minn. airport on Tuesday!!) hugs hugs!

    • It would be so good with your berries! 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take the grocery store ones if I have to, but home-grown are the way to go! I’m a little jealous, to tell the truth!

  2. I think you’ll mess up with my Whole30, Mollie!! Hahaha! This looks gorgeous! If only we were neighbors, I’d know at your door everyday! 😀 Thanks for sharing at FIesta Friday party!

    • haha, Jhuls! I want to do the whole 30 (again – did it a long time ago and felt great) but my folks have such a sweet tooth I keep trying to find things to bake for them! And then I figure, why not post it, lol! And then I think, well why not just have a slice? or two? lol!

      I would love to see you at the door for your daily dose, lol!

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