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Pellegrino Artusi’s Plumcake

Italians call pound cake plum cake, even though there are no plums in the recipe. It is pronounced PLOOMcake but also called quattro quarti or four quarters as each ingredient for the cake was equal in weight and a pound of each ingredient was needed to make the cake.The original recipe comes from Pellegrino Artusi’s book “La Scienza in Cucina e L’Arte di Mangiar Bene”   


5 Eggs (extra-large)

Sugar, the same weight of the eggs in the shell

All-purpose Flour, the same weight of the sugar

100 g (1/2 cup) blanched Almonds

200 g (2 sticks) unsalted Butter, melted and cooled

1/2 tsp pure Almond Oil

Zest of 1 (organic) Lemon

1 tsp Baking Soda



Before you start, some pointers for making the cake:

1) Use the right size pan and grease and flour it well

2) Have all ingredients at room temperature

3) Use unsalted butter

4) Preheat the oven

5) Bake on bottom rack

6) Cake is done when golden brown and firm to the touch and does not leave an indentation when the top is tapped with your finger

7) Pound cake has the classic cracked look on the top

Butter a loaf or Bundt pan and sprinkle with a little flour mixed with 1 tbsp sugar and shake off excess.

Finely grind the almonds with a tbsp of sugar and 1 tbsp of flour taken from the total.

In a mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together eggs and sugar with almond oil and lemon zest, for 15 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale yellow in color. Take care to scrape the sides of the bowl once in a while.

Mix well together flour and ground almonds, then add to the eggs mixture and incorporate the dry ingredients to the mixture using the flat beater attachment at the lowest speed. Let the batter rest, covered, for a couple of hours.

Fifteeen minutes before the end of the batter resting period preheat the oven at 350 F (180 C).
Then add the melted butter and the baking soda mixing at the lowest speed until the batter looks smooth and glossy.

Pour in the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a grid for 10 minutes, then turn it out and let it finish cooling on the grid.


  1. Vickie's avatar


    I am looking forward to making this cake. This is similar to our "family" pound cake that I have always made, passed down from my mother, aunt, and grandmother, whom have all passed on now, except on a smaller scale.
    What size loaf and bundt pans should be used? Thank you!

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