Torta alla Prugne (Torta with Prunes)
  • 1¼ c. (about 7 oz) soft pitted prunes
  • 1 c. plus1 T. sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 12 T. (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 T. fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  1. Cut the prunes into bite-sized pieces. In a small saucepan, put the prunes, ⅓ c. sugar, lemon zest and wine.
  2. Over medium low heat bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Cook for about 15 minutes until it has thickened and syrup barely covers the poached prunes.
  3. Let the prunes cook completely. When cool, drain through a sieve, collecting the syrup, about ¼ cup. (This can be done ahead of time, but make sure to drain the plums well).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease the inside of a 9" springform pan with 1 T. of soft butter. Stir the breadcrumbs and 1 T. of sugar together. Coat the buttered pan with the bread crumb mixture; shake out excess crumbs.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  6. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the remaining sugar and butter for several minutes on high speed, scraping down the bowl a few times, until light and smooth.
  7. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Scrape down the bowl and fluff up the batter on high speed after each egg yolk.
  8. On low speed add the dry ingredients, mixing just until completely moistened and incorporated.
  9. In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites and salt to firm peaks. Stir a third of the egg whites into the cake batter, then gently fold in the remainder.
  10. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  11. Scatter the drained prune pieces evenly over the top of the batter, covering the whole cake.
  12. Bake about 45 minutes until top is golden brown and cake tester comes out clean. Remove and cool on wire rack.
  13. Drizzle the remaining wine syrup over the top of the warm cake. Let cool ½ hour. Remove cake from pan.
  14. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Recipe by Ortensia Blu at