Late Summer Plum Cake

5 stars based on 32 votes

plum cake

One of the most popular recipes on this site is the Simple Summer Strawberry Cake, a wonderful, homey dessert sent to me by one of my readers, Karen Tannenbaum. (The recipe was originally published in Martha Stewart magazine in 2005.) Over the years, I’ve received numerous inquiries about replacing the strawberries with other fruits. Finally, with an abundance of fresh picked plums in my kitchen this week, I had the perfect excuse to try it. I found it worked beautifully with the plums. Quartered and nestled into the batter, they soften into jammy, mulberry-colored pockets as they bake; and the addition of warm spices celebrates the summer-into-fall season. Serve it as a brunch cake, or for dessert topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

ingredients

Begin by whisking the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt together in a large bowl.

dry-ingredients

Next, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

creaming-butter-and-sugar

Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.

adding-eggs-and-vanilla

Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat on low speed until smooth.

mixing-in-milk

Transfer the batter to a greased Springform pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Note that the batter is quick thick.

spreading-batter

Arrange the plums on top, skin side up, in a circular pattern so that they cover most of the batter.

plums-in-batter

Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the plums.

plums-sprinkled-with-sugar

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until golden on top and set in the center.

baked-plum-cake

When the cake is hot out of the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan and then remove the springform edge (leave the base in place). Let the cake cool on a rack completely.

cake-cooling-on-rack

Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Plum-Cake-1

My Recipe Videos

Late Summer Plum Cake

Servings: 8-10
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 70 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
  • 1 pound plums, pitted and quartered

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. (Alternatively, the cake may be made in a 9-inch cake pan or pie pan and served directly from the pan.)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, and beat on low speed until smooth. (Note: the batter will be quite thick.)
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Arrange the plums on top, skin side up, in a circular pattern so that they mostly cover the batter. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the plums.
  5. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until golden on top and set in the center.
  6. When the cake is hot out of the oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan and then remove the springform edge, leaving the base in place (if using a springform pan). Let the cake cool on a rack completely. Slice and serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
  7. Note: This cake keeps well, loosely covered at room temperature, for several days.
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Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 344
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 54g
  • Sugar: 35g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Sodium: 231mg
  • Cholesterol: 55mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I made this with peaches and it was so good and simple to make. I made it in a pie plate and it was a tad overdone at 60 min but it was still delicious (and so pretty)!

    - Sarah on September 15, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    The Late Summer Plum Cake is fantastic. It is easy to make and very delicious. I experimented and used 1/2 cup sugar instead of 1 cup. It was perfect for us.
    Jenn, you have a great reputation at home. When I say I’m trying a new recipe and it’s by you, I get no objections. All your recipes have proven to be first rate. I love your cookbook.
    Carol – September 16, 2018

    - Carol Briseno on September 15, 2018 Reply
    • ❤️

      - Jenn on September 15, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    It was PERFECT!!!

    - Mindy Lebb on September 9, 2018 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Hope you had a great summer! I’ve made your strawberry cake and it’s amazing. Decided to try this plum cake for the holiday, but cannot find cardamom in my market…since it’s so late and I’d like to make now, can I just leave it out or sub something else? Thanks so much! And a Happy and Healthy New Year to you!

    - Diane on September 6, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Diane, no worries – you can just use a bit more cinnamon or nutmeg in its place. Hope you enjoy the cake and happy new year!

      - Jenn on September 7, 2018 Reply
  • This recipe is a derivative of the NY Times all time favorite and most requested recipe. It didn’t originate as a strawberry cake, but was and still is a traditional plum recipe since the 1960s (?). A revision was called the New Age Plum Tort and used banana as a healthy alternative to butter. Please give credit where it is due . . . not to Martha Stewart!

    - Nancy on September 6, 2018 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Hi Nancy, There are a limited number of truly original cakes! The NYT did not invent the idea of a plum cake. There are some meaningful differences between the classic Marian Burros NYT recipe and this one, including the basic ingredient proportions, the addition of milk and the type of plums! Jenn’s premise for many of her recipes is that she is testing and deriving the very best variation of a known dish, and I have generally found she is remarkably successful in doing that.

      - Diane on September 14, 2018 Reply
  • My son is asking for a peach/plum cake for his birthday – would this work if a did 1/2 plums, 1/2 peaches?

    - Cindy on August 29, 2018 Reply
    • Yes, definitely, Cindy – enjoy!

      - Jenn on August 30, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Fantastic! Instructions were spot on. I made sure the egg was at room temp and butter completely softened, weighed the flour, and added 1/2 tsp of almond extract and it came out wonderfully. Tender and perfectly balanced between the warm spices, tartness of the plums, and the sweet crisp of the vanilla sugar sprinkled on top.

    - Joya Dem on August 29, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a wonderful recipe. It makes the perfect base for a variety of fruit toppings. Always turns out perfect and I add my own flavors and everyone LOVES this bakery perfect cake. Thank you!!!

    - Nat L on August 19, 2018 Reply
  • What size springform pan do you recommend? The one I have is a 10″ and the batter seemed lost, so I transferred it to a pie plate.

    - Sally Ann Dawson on July 20, 2018 Reply
    • Hi Sally, I recommend a 9-inch springform for this. It’s perfectly fine, though, to bake it in a pie plate though (or a 9-inch cake pan). Hope it turned out nicely!

      - Jenn on July 20, 2018 Reply
      • Thank you!

        - Sally Ann Dawson on July 20, 2018 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Never mind! I see in your comments from a previous year that a 10 inch springform pan is too large. Glad I switched! Cake turned out beautifully and tastes wonderful!

      - Sally Ann Dawson on July 20, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh. Emm. Gee. Dee–lish! Comes together super easy and tastes just wonderful. My only comment is that the grease from the springform pan dripped down to the bottom of my stove and kinda smelled and smoked a bit. I quickly put the pan on a sheet tray and all was good with the world. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll definitely be making this again. And again….

    - Alja on July 11, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this cake when we had guests, used whole wheat aata (flour)instead of APF. Turned out fabulous. Served it with vanilla ice cream. This recipe is a keeper.

    - Chaitali on July 2, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made this recipe 4 times – it’s absolutely delicious. I wouldn’t change a thing. The really great thing with this recipe is the cake flavor is equally wonderful with a stone fruit other than Plums, like Peaches or Nectarines, as it would be with Cherries or even berries.. Thank you for sharing this with us! 🙂

    - Melissa Catron on March 1, 2018 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn, I’ve made both this and the strawberry cake for company to great success! It’s delicious! Do you think this cake can be made 2 days ahead without drying out? I have to bake it on Monday night for a Wed afternoon meeting. If so, would I store it at room temp or in the fridge, and should it be covered? Thanks for your guidance and the lovely recipe!

    - Sumi on February 17, 2018 Reply
    • I think you could get away with it Sumi – I’d store it covered in the fridge.

      - Jenn on February 17, 2018 Reply
      • Awesome. Thank you!!

        - Sumi on February 18, 2018 Reply
  • Jen, I’d thought I’d let you know you have a follower & subscriber in France! SW near Bordeaux.
    I have made your late summer plum cake 3 times in the last 2 weeks! Delicious and if given the opportunity will last 3 days easily. Other half will have for breakfast too! There is one waiting to be dived into, just come out of the oven, the smell is irresistible!
    The flour is a little different here so seems to take 50ish min to 👨‍🍳 cook. Maybe me. Cream is different, can’t get fresh chillies so some challenges but I persevere! I am known for my deserts!
    I spent time in the Middle East, visited Lebanon, grew up on a Greek Island so love all those familiar dishes, esp Lebanese.
    I still have many of your recipes to try, but thought I’d let you know how far & wide your influence goes! Quote from other half, Best Cake Ever!
    Lulu

    - Louise on October 8, 2017 Reply
    • So glad to know that your distance from me has nothing to do with your enthusiasm for the recipes– so glad you like them! (And hope the plum cake that just came out of the oven was delish!)

      - Jenn on October 8, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have made this cake several times and shared the recipe as well. it is perfect . moist, dense cake with sweet plums. My friend told me I can toss all other recipes away!

    - maria G on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    The cardamom adds so much flavor of this cake. I used a regular 9×9 baking pan and it did fine. It is also is great for peaches also. Desserts don’t last long at our house.

    - Lyn on September 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’m making this again this summer. I made it last year and it was easy and a huge hit. I never thought I would like a plum cake but I love it. My family, friends and neighbors all loved it too.

    - Tom on August 25, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Greetings Jen, Can this recipe be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan? I made it last summer, and it was so delicious it was gone in a flash! Thanks for your time. Vicki P.

    - Vicki Pyne on July 29, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Vicki, Yes, it can be doubled and prepared in a 9 x 13 dish. Cooking time should be about the same, but make sure to check it for doneness before pulling it out.

      - Jenn on July 30, 2017 Reply
  • What level of ripeness should the plums or peaches be? Can they be pretty firm still or do they have to be pretty ripe and more soft to the touch? Does it make a difference in the final product? Thanks for any thoughts!

    - Diane on July 13, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Diane, I think they are best when just ripe and slightly soft to the touch.

      - Jenn on July 13, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is so easy and the flavor of the cake alone is great. Will try with peaches next.

    - Lyn on July 13, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I baked this cake and it was sooo good. The house smelled great when I baked it and my family loved it. Thank you very much for sharing this amazing recipe :).

    - Kimmy on July 2, 2017 Reply
  • Can I use dairy substitutes as I am lactose intolerant?

    - Roberta on June 26, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Roberta, I haven’t prepared this with dairy substitutes, but if you’ve used them successfully in other baking, I suspect they would work here. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      - Jenn on June 26, 2017 Reply
  • Such a delicious cake. I’ve made it 3 times and its been a hit each time. Although have swapped the cardamom for ginger, as i didn’t have ground cardamom the first time and the ginger works so well.

    - PC on March 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was a little hesitant about making this but with plums looking good at the market, I decided to give it a go. It turned out so delicious, despite me messing up how I made it. I thought for sure it was a bust because of my mistake but it was flawless. My husband said the areas with no plums tasted just like the entemanns crumb cake. Everyone who tried it loved it. Can’t wait to make it again

    - Arielle Troiano on October 8, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    I hope this message finds you and yours well. I made this cake for my family, and it was a huge hit, absolutely delicious! As plums are out of season, can I substitute frozen peaches? If so, should they be defrosted first? As always, thanks for your wonderful recipes, and expert advise. ?

    - Vicki on October 8, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Vicki, So glad you liked the cake! And yes, I think peaches would work nicely here. I’d suggest defrosting them first and draining off any extra liquid.

      - Jenn on October 9, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I had such fun making this plum cake. I substituted a gluten free flour and the texture of the cake was great. I was worried that it wouldn’t work, but it did!

    Folks at the dinner seemed to enjoy the cake a lot. And the gluten free diners were really appreciative.

    To MY taste, the cake was too sweet. And I was hoping for more of a tangy, plum taste.

    I will definitely try this recipe again, although perhaps with a different fruit next time. Cranberry?

    What do you think about how I might tone down the sweetness. AND would the top still come out crusty, if I left out the sugar on top of the plums?

    I know, many questions. LOVE that you are responsive to your subscribers thoughts and inquiries. And your recipes are so easy to follow. Thank you. -Kate

    - Kate Sells on October 3, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kate, Glad you liked the cake! To tone down the sweetness, you could cut the sugar for the base of the cake back by about 1/4 cup. If you omit the sugar on top, it would not have that crusty layer. And while I think that just cranberries would make the cake too tart, a combination of plums and cranberries would be nice.

      - Jenn on October 5, 2016 Reply
      • Jenn, that sounds perfect! Cranberries and plums. Thank you so much for addressing all of my questions.

        And congratulations on finishing your recipe book.

        Best, Kate

        - Kate Sells on October 6, 2016 Reply
  • And, shall I leave the skins on the plums? I will be making this dessert for a Rosh Hashana dinner this Sunday, October 2, 2016, so I am hoping to get some answers before terribly long!

    - Kate Sells on September 30, 2016 Reply
    • No need to peel the plums, Kate – the skin softens nicely as the cake bakes. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

      - Jenn on September 30, 2016 Reply
    • Thank you so much for your quick response. I am so looking forward to trying your recipe! I have used your recipes before and they are always lovely. Loved the one this summer: peaches, cheese, prosciutto, and basil. I will make that again, no doubt.

      And might I be so bold as to guess that a Happy New Year salutation might be in order for you, as well!

      - Kate Sells on September 30, 2016 Reply
      • Thanks, Kate!

        - Jenn on September 30, 2016 Reply
    • I just noticed your
      favorite recipes for Rosh Hashana. Yay. I will definitely look them over in for future years. What a lovely idea to post this subject. Thank you again.

      - Kate Sells on October 1, 2016 Reply
  • Will a 10 inch springform pan be large enough???

    - Kate Sells on September 30, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kate, A 10-inch pan is actually a bit too large. I would use a 9-inch deep dish pie pan or cake pan if you don’t have the proper size springform. A 10-inch would work, but the cake would be quite flat.

      - Jenn on September 30, 2016 Reply
  • Can this cake be made with RED plums instead of the black plums pictured?

    - Alice on September 29, 2016 Reply
    • Sure Alice, red plums will work too!

      - Jenn on September 29, 2016 Reply
  • Can this prune cake be frozen?

    - Anne Cawley on September 20, 2016 Reply
    • Yes Anne, I think it would freeze nicely.

      - Jenn on September 21, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jennifer,
    Another blue ribbon recipe!! Absolutely delicious!! My wife and I both enjoyed this cake. I never would have thought that the skin on the plums would end up being so tender.
    Once again, thank you for sharing another wonderful recipe!!!

    - Jim on September 18, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jen! Really wanted to make this recipe but can’t seem to find ground cardemom in my area. Any thoughts as to what would make a good substitute?

    - Amanda on September 4, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Amanda, You could add a bit of ground ginger or just leave it out — it won’t make a big difference. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on September 5, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    Your cake was such a hit, my boys are asking me to bake another one! If I double the recipe, can it be baked in a 9×13 pan? How much extra time would I need to add? Thanks for your time. 🙂

    - Vicki on September 3, 2016 Reply
    • So glad everyone liked it! Yes, you can double it and prepare in a 9 x 13 dish. Cooking time should be about the same, but make sure to check it for doneness before pulling it out.

      - Jenn on September 4, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is delicious! I honestly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. I had to stop myself and my husband from eating it, I think I could have sat there and eaten the whole cake. I decreased the sugar from 200g to 150g (a little less than a cup) I also used one large black plum and two smaller red plums. Will be baking this over and over again!

    - Chrissy on September 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this with peaches and it was luscious. Great foundation recipe for any stone fruit or berries.

    - Katileigh on September 1, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    absolutely delicious – the perfect cake to introduce plums to those who think they don’t like them!

    - kay campbell on August 29, 2016 Reply
    • 5 stars

      That would be me. I thought I should bake this and it was just great. My whole family liked it. I’m not one to try anything new but after making the strawberry version I thought this could be something new we would like. My wife has already said I have to make it for Christmas!

      - Tom on September 4, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Greetings Jenn,
    This cake was delicious, my family and I loved it. My son suggested making it with peaches, blackberries or bluberries next time. Thanks for another wonderful recipe!
    Vicki

    - Vicki P. on August 28, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This light Summer cake is delicious. Do you think it could be made with fresh peaches too? If so, how large would you slice them? My husband loved it and asked for it again this week. I made both the strawberry and plum recipes. It will be my go to Summer cake recipe!

    - Karen on August 28, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Karen, Glad you liked the cake! Yes, I think you could use almost any variety of fruit here. If using peaches, I’d cut them in quarters, sixths or even eighths depending upon the size of the peaches. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      - Jenn on August 29, 2016 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I liked the unusual combination of spices. It goes well with the plums. I used only 1/4 C. of butter and it came out very rich and had a good texture.

    - Susan Stone on August 27, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn
    made this tonight and it was yummy! Do you think this would freeze well?

    - Barbara on August 27, 2016 Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it, Barbara. I do think it would freeze well.

      - Jenn on August 27, 2016 Reply
  • I want to print your recipe late summer plum cake when I press print it doesn’t print.

    - alice muise on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Alice, I’m sorry you were having trouble printing the recipe– I will look into why that’s happening. I’ve emailed you a PDF version so that you can save or print it. Hope you enjoy the cake!

      - Jenn on August 27, 2016 Reply
  • This sounds really great. I’m always looking for ways to get the boys to eat more fruit. Definitely going to have to try this one out! I’m thinking it would make a great breakfast!

    - Nathan on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    ?????

    - Eileen on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn-
    I was wondering about the texture of the plum skins in the finished cake-are the tough? Is it worth peeling them first?

    - Kerri on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kerri, I don’t think it’s at all necessary; they soften up nicely.

      - Jenn on August 25, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        I wondered about the skins also but the plums with skins tasted “jammy” just as Jenn described.

        - Tom on September 4, 2016 Reply
  • Hello Jenn…Greetings from Canada!
    Going to bake your Late Summer Plum Cake. I have an 8 inch spring form pan. 9 inch size is not available at any stores I have shopped. The next size is 10 inch…too large for us. How do I calculated time for baking and should ingredients be reduced for my 8 inch pan?
    Great thank you for your reply.
    Yvonne Adams
    [email protected]

    - Yvonne Adams on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, I’ve made this recipe in an 8-inch pan and it works just fine as is. Enjoy and please let me know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve made cake with blueberries and it is delicious!

    - Ginger russ on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • Sounds delicious! Could I substitute Italian prune plums?

    - Maryalice O'Brian on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • Absolutely, Maryalice — they should work well.

      - Jenn on August 25, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    What time would you think I would bake this at if I were to divide the recipe into 8 4″ Spring form pans? I would like to try it but a ballpark time would be helpful. I would check it with wooden skewer to be sure.
    Thanks! Carol

    - Carol Beale on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Carol, I would start peeking after 30-35 minutes — you’ll know they’re ready when the tops go from golden around edges/pale in the center to completely golden.

      - Jenn on August 25, 2016 Reply
    • how much butter is in grams?

      - Ivana on August 26, 2018 Reply
      • Hi Ivana, A half cup of butter is the equivalent of 113 grams. This recipe has metric conversions — To view them, scroll down to the recipe and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you.

        - Jenn on August 26, 2018 Reply
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