Simple Plum Cake

This recipe for plum cake creates a mildly sweet, tender buttery cake with swirls of tart plums.

I was debating what dessert to make this weekend when our sweet neighbors handed my husband some plums over the fence. 

The plums were overly ripe and not holding their shape when I tried slicing them, so on a whim I decided to make a plum cake. 

I coarsely chopped the plums and cooked them down into a compote/jam. I then dolloped it over the batter and swirled it in. 

If your plums are not too ripe, skip the jam-making part and instead thinly slice them and arrange over the batter before baking.

Because this recipe requires minimal ingredients, I was able to make two cakes—one for us and one for our wonderful neighbors! 

It’s a simple and quick cake recipe that will work with other stone fruits like apricot or peaches, or with fresh berries like blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries. 

Serve it plain, with whipped cream, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Joby's Test Kitchen large slice of plum cake on cutting board

How to Make Plum Cake

Preheat the oven to 375℉ and grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

In a small saucepan add 3 medium diced plums plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook the plums over medium-heat, stirring continuously. The plums will break down and become a sauce. Cook until they have reduced by half or have a jam-like consistency. Set aside.

In small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup each of whole wheat and all-purpose flours, 1/2 teaspoon each of baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In medium bowl beat 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter and 1/2 cup of sugar (minus 1 tablespoon for the jam and 1 tablespoon for the topping). Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Oil can be substituted for the butter if desired.

Then add in 1 room temperature egg and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, combining them well.

Now you’ll want to implement the creaming method which alternates between adding liquid and dry ingredients to prevent over-mixing:

  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until mostly combined, but with some bits of flour remaining.
  • Then add 1/4 cup buttermilk and again mix till mostly combined but not fully incorporated. Add another 1/3 of flour, followed by another 1/4 cup buttermilk, lightly mixing in between.
  • Finally add the remaining flour and using a rubber spatula, gently fold until no flour or milk remain.

Scrape the batter into the greased pan. Then spoon a few tablespoons of jam over the top and swirl it in (you will have some jam leftover). Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top.

Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

Joby's Test Kitchen slice of plum cake on plate

What My Kids Say:
9 year-old: “It has a nice crumb, and the plum gives a tart and sweet burst of flavor.”
7 year-old: “It tastes good.”

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Simple Plum Cake
A mildly sweet, tender buttery cake, with swirls of tart plums.
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Simple Plum Cake

Joby’s Test Kitchen
A mildly sweet, tender buttery cake, with swirls of tart plums.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 slices

Ingredients
  

  • 3 medium ripe plums, diced
  • ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (60g) whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • dash cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 4 tbsps (56g) butter, room temperature (can also use oil or a combo of both)
  • ½ cup (96g) sugar (set aside 2 tablespoons to use for jam and topping)
  • 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup (120ml) buttermilk or milk, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375℉. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
  • In a small saucepan add diced plums plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Over medium-heat, stir & reduce by half or until jam-like consistency. Set aside.
  • In small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In medium bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, combine well.
  • Now add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix until mostly combined, but with some bits of flour remaining. Then add ½ of the milk and again mix till mostly combined but not fully incorporated. Add another ⅓ of flour, then the rest of the milk, lightly mixing in between. Finally add the remaining flour and using a rubber spatula, gently fold until no flour or milk remain. This method of alternating between liquid and dry ingredients prevents over-mixing.
  • Scrape batter into the pan. Spoon a few tablespoons of jam over the top and swirl it in (you will have some jam leftover). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar on top.
  • Bake 25-30min until golden brown. Cool 20-30 minutes before serving.
Keyword cake, dessert, plum

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