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Plum Cake

Plum CakeHello! How was your Labor Day weekend? Did you go on a vacation? Did you have a cookout? Please tell me you did something fun, because all I did was work. Thank goodness I have friends who know how to save me from myself by taking me out to dinner! Mark my words, I’m not doing anything on Columbus Day weekend.

But enough about my personal life. This is a baking blog and my day-to-day simply is not as interesting as this Plum Cake.Plum CakeI’ve never been much for cooked stone fruit (peaches, apricots, etc.) in my desserts, but I make an exception for this cake. I mean, how could I possibly resist a buttery, brown sugary cake full of soft, jammy late-summer plums?!

This is my favorite kind of cake–the “everyday” variety. There’s no layering, no frosting, no need for a special occasion. This rustic dessert is one that can be whipped up anytime the need for cake arises.

Plum CakePlum Cake has the same base as my Mango Upside-Down Cake. The cake itself is super soft and full of brown sugar flavor. I added the tiniest bit of cinnamon and a little almond extract here, just to help the plums “pop.” The batter is a breeze to whip up, and only takes a few minutes to put together. Once you’ve got the batter in the pan, lay halved plums over the top and slide it into the oven.

Plum CakePlum CakeAs the cake bakes, the plums collapse into the batter, leaving divots in the top of the finished product. The cake can be served as-is, but I like to sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. I love the contrast between the browned edges and the white top. And of course, when the cake is sliced, there are gorgeous purplish-red cross-sections of plum all the way through!

Plum CakeThis Plum Cake is a fantastic way to use some of that good end-of-summer fruit. The sweet-tart plums really shine in this simple almond-scented brown sugar cake. As we move into fall, this cake is a great way to enjoy the last of what summer has to offer.Plum Cake

Plum Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4-6 plums,* halved and pitted (I used empress plums)
1/4-1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.* Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in dark brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. With the mixer on low, mix in vanilla and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Lay halved plums cut-side down over the top of the batter. Bake 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.

Let cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Place a separate rack over a sheet of wax paper. Release the cake from the pan and place over prepared rack. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Slice and serve. 


1.  Use any plums you like. This cake works well with black, red, empress, or Italian prune plums. If the plums are small, you will need more to cover the top of the batter.

2.  If you do not have a springform pan, this cake may be made in a deep dish pie plate, or a deep cake pan. If using one of these alternatives, serve the cake directly from the pan. This cake does not invert well.