Late Summer Plum Cake

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Plum Cake

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Gently spiced, this jammy plum cake celebrates the summer-into-fall season. Serve it as a brunch cake or for dessert topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Piece of plum cake on a plate with a spoon.

Taking a cue from Martha Stewart’s fresh strawberry cake—a favorite on this site—this plum cake is the perfect dessert for late summer, when plums are at their prime. Gently tucked into the batter, the plums turn into rich, jammy pockets as they bake. And a touch of warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom give the cake a hint of cozy fall flavors. You can enjoy this dessert any time of day—plain and simple, or with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

What you’ll need to make Plum Cake

Cake ingredients including egg, vanilla, and baking powder.

Step-By-Step Instructions

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

Bowl of unmixed dry ingredients.

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

Electric mixer creaming butter and sugar.

Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.

Eggs and vanilla in a bowl with butter and sugar.

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

Milk added to batter in a bowl.

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

Person spreading batter into a cake pan.

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

Plums set in a cake pan of 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.

Plum cake in a springform pan.

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.

Plum cake on a wire rack.

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

Piece of plum cake on a plate with a spoon.

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Late Summer Plum Cake

Gently spiced, this jammy plum cake celebrates the summer-into-fall season. Serve it as a brunch cake or for dessert topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ 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.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

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.

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Comments

  • My coworkers request this cake all the time, I have made it 6-7 times just this year! This is the perfect plum cake

    • — Cassie on October 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I love your site, recipes and comments. I also love this cake and, with my supply of seasonal prune plums, would love to make it gluten free for a dinner party. Will this work?
    Thx,
    Anne

    • — Anne on October 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Anne, thanks for your kind words about the recipes/site; so glad you like them! Yes, I think it would be fine to make this with a gluten-free flour. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on October 3, 2023
      • Reply
      • Could you also make this cake with plant based milk rather than dairy? Thanks!

        • — Imi on October 11, 2023
        • Reply
        • Sure!

          • — Jenn on October 11, 2023
          • Reply
  • Cardamon is delightful here! I sprinkled crushed walnuts on top, used a bit more plums and I also used less sugar (as I do with most recipes). It worked! I made it few times now. Thank you for such great recipe! It is a great way to use up plums if not eaten fresh.

    • — Silvia B on September 25, 2023
    • Reply
  • Well, this recipe is a keeper!!! Amazing results. This is a very delicious cake.

    • — Fernando on September 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn-recently I made this recipe using nectarines & cherries, as I had extra of both. I omitted the cardamom as I had none. Then, to compare I made the NYT plum torte. I wanted a new go-to recipe for late summer/early fall. Both were good but yours was my favorite-yummy!

    • — Steph on September 17, 2023
    • Reply
  • A wonderful cake! The spices really make it stand out and the plums cut through to make the whole thing sing! Another triumph Jen, thank you

    • — Yvonne D on September 15, 2023
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  • This recipe is delicious! The spices in the cake perfectly complement the plums. It’s not overly sweet either – just enough sweetness combined with the spices.

    • — Sara on September 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, looking forward to trying this one, there’s so many good recipes!! I am curious about the usage of plum quarters in the recipe. What is your reasoning for not using slices of plums ( or peaches) ? Thanks !!

    • — beth on September 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Beth, It’s just personal preference – feel free to use slices if you like.

      • — Jenn on September 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made this morning in a pie dish, Delicious! 😋

    • — Mari Hood on September 9, 2023
    • Reply
  • Has anyone made this a day or two ahead and found that it was OK and not too soggy to serve?

    • — Kim on September 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kim, I’ll let readers weigh in with their opinions, but I think cake keeps well for several days. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • Delicious! Straight forward recipe, wonderful results. I made this for a family brunch and it was a hit. I found cutting the plums and removing the stone the hardest part. I did use an 8.5 inch spring form pan and baked it for the full 70 minutes.
    I also made the fresh corn salad and your smoked salmon spread, both delicious and easy!
    Thanks for the great recipes!

    • — Susan on September 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can I use frozen plums for this cake? I have some homegrown that I would like to use.

    • — Jan Rutledge on September 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Jan, Sure, frozen plums will work – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have made this cake several times and every time I make it, it brings so much joy. Thank you for the recipe.
    This is the website I go to when I need to make something good: reliable, thoughtful, instructive and elegant.

    • — Suji on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • I don’t bake much, but with company coming and plums on special, I thought I’d try this recipe. Everyone was glad I did! My cardamom was old, so I substituted 5 Spice Powder and loved the results.

    • — Cheryl on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • This cake is absolutely delicious and very easy to make. Definitely a keeper.

    • — Sandra Lea on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Does it matter what kind of plums you use? Some are sweeter than others.

    • — Pearl McElheran on September 4, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Pearl, I like black plums best, but you can use what you have on hand; I just wouldn’t go with anything too tart. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • Oh my goodness, exactly as promised. It’s early September and I’m still harvesting the last of my tomatoes, squash, and basil but I know cooler temperatures are around the corner. THIS is exactly what needs to be enjoyed in this moment – the late summer fruit beautifully nestled in a tender cake spiced with fall flavors to come – cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. I’ve tried the similar versions of this cake with strawberry and peach – which are both delicious – but this was my favorite of the three. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Lynnessa on September 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • The plum cake was perfect and tasted delicious.
    Thanks for another good recipe.

    • — Bre on September 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was really delicious. I usually make the plum torte that was published every year in the New York Times, but this is superior in my opinion. The spices make all the difference, especially the cardamom.

    • — Ann on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Agreed, I made the NYT plum tart and found it a bit plain – not sure why it is the “most requested” recipe. Jen’s recipe is by far more tasty – I used Italian plums fresh off the tree.

      • — Lu on September 15, 2023
      • Reply
  • I would like to try this with apples for the high holidays. Any suggestions for how to cut the apples? Sliced, chunks or grated???
    Thanks so much!

    • — Elaine on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Elaine I actually have a cake very similar to this one that uses apples. You can find it here. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Have others had success using a non-springform pan for this recipe? (20+ years cooking in my own kitchen and I never remember to buy one!)

    • — Elissa on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Made your peach cake last week, what a hit it was! My cardamon is almost as old as me and that’s saying something! I was going to replace it but when I saw the cost $14.99, I didn’t buy it. Is there something else to replace its wonderful flavor that would be as good or just leave it out altogether? Thanks. Sid

    • — Sid on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sid, Glad you liked the peach cake! For this one, it’s fine to omit the cardamom ($14.99?!) – it will still be delish!

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this twice – the first time was perfection. The second time, for some reason, the plums sank all the way to the bottom of the cake rather than staying on the surface like they had the first time I made it. Can you think of what I may have done wrong? Perhaps I overmixed the batter?

    Love your recipes Jen!

    • — Aleen on August 31, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Aleen, Glad you enjoyed it the first time around! If you found they sunk this time, the next time you make it, I’d cut them into slightly smaller pieces.

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2023
      • Reply
  • Oh em gee. This cake is just as delicious as it was easy to make. Sweet, tart, and just the right amount of spice. Thanks, Jen!

    • — Jill G on August 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!
    Can I use a bunch of Prune Plums instead of the black plums?

    • — Nick G on August 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think that should work. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made this last year and loved it! I also made it with peaches and it was equally as amazing! My question is, do you think thinks could be made into cupcakes?

    Thanks!

    • — Laura P on August 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is such a wonderful recipe, Thank you ! It always works perfectly, I make it with blood plums from my tree, and i have also made it with poached quince and raspberries.

    • — Mia Rappel on August 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • So good! I bought way too many ripe plums & couldn’t stand the thought of them going to waste if we couldn’t eat them all right away. I used coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and had no problem. I didn’t have any eggs so I used a flax egg & this came out great! I did reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes and it was golden on the sides and bottom. Excited to try it with a real hen’s egg though 🙂 Great recipe, Jenn! I especially love the spices.

    • — LJ on August 1, 2023
    • Reply
  • Turned out perfect! The cake itself it so good, I’ll use the same batter for a variety of fruits.

    • — Michele on July 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • I love the way it looks, tastes, smells, and how perfect it turned out! The cardamom was a great touch. This has to be one of my fav summer desserts.

    • — Sayedeh on July 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hey Jen,
    What do you think about using turbinado sugar instead of white for topping? any thoughts?
    thanks for another great one!

    • — Carol Beale on July 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, Carol, that will work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 20, 2023
      • Reply
    • Have at it – that’s what I used. 🙂

      • — Michele on July 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • Amazing recipe! Perfection really… going to try it with peaches next.

    • — Sandra on July 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • This cake is incredibly easy to make and is absolutely delicious. Don’t pass on the cardamom, it adds another note of flavor that is so satisfying. I added turbinado cane sugar on top the last 5 minutes of baking for a little sweet crunch.

    • — Jennifer G on July 8, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this yesterday for a family brunch. A smashing success. The sweet, slightly sour taste of the plumbs created a perfect balance with the 1cup + 2tbsp sugar.

    The recipe is easy and quick but the result looks like I slaved away 😉

    The cake was perfection.

    Hands-down one of the best cakes I’ve ever made.

    Thank you again for your fantastic recipes. Each one has come out exactly as described, and the flavor profiles never disappoint.

    • — Karen on June 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Really enjoyed this cake last summer. Any attempts to try this recipe with rhubarb? Have so much in my garden right now.

    • — Linda on June 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! I’ve never tried it with rhubarb. It may be a bit tart, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made the recipe as directed, except that I substituted all-purpose for white whole-wheat flour (1:1 ratio). The result was delightful. I’m enjoying my first slice now with an afternoon cup of tea.

    • — Rebeca on May 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Oh? I’m going to have to try that.

      • — Michele on July 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • Was this made in a fan oven or conventional? If fan forced what temperatures do you recommend?

    Thank you

    • — Colleen KILINC on April 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Colleen, I use the regular (non-fan) setting for all of my recipes. If you plan to use convection, I’d decrease the oven temp by 25 degrees. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • This cake was really good! With my chooks not laying many eggs at the moment and an abundance of plums this recipe was a perfectly matched for me. My husband really enjoyed it and I loved the tartness of the plums balanced against the sweetness of the cake. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks.

    • — Fiona on February 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I use frozen cherries instead of plums? Thanks

    • — Michelle Chang on December 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure – the cherries may be a bit sweeter than plums so you might want to cut back the sugar by a tablespoon or two. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this according to the recipe using plums and it was good. Convection baked at 325° for 62 minutes. The second time I used blueberries, doubled the spices, and reduced sugar topping to 1 tablespoon. Perfection.

    • — Cindy on November 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • This cake was absolutely delicious, more savory, less sweet! I used a half cup granulated sugar, half cup monkfruit sweetener inside the batter and granulated sugar on top. Makes a small cake, perfect for six, can stretch it with vanilla bean or other neutral ice cream. Will be making this one again soon, maybe even trying different fruit although the plums were gorgeous, thank you! (I used the small Italian plums).

    • — D. Maher on October 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • I also made it with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener. It turned out great, as usual. I’ve made this cake numerous times as directed. I thought would try it less sweet this time. It was still sweet enough! Thanks Jenn!

      • — Norma K on October 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • Very easy recipe and plums were in season. Got the big plums. Just right and was delicious the first time I made it so this is my second time. I love the taste of this cake. Thank You.

    • — Barbara Hezel, Great Meadows New Jersey on October 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best plumcake ever! Easy to make. Even if I had to change to metric, as I live in Sweden.

    • — Ingalill Dahlskog on October 2, 2022
    • Reply
  • Lovely. First time I made exactly as written. Then I adapted to use with my home ec class. I halved the recipe except used the original amount of nutmeg and double the amount of cardamom. Each group made in 3 mini spring form pans. This also allowed a shorter cooking time. They were super cute and very tasty. I used prune plums off my backyard tree. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • — Leanne on October 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jen, can I use gluten free flour??? I am guessing yes.

    • — Kate Schiff on September 24, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kate, I think it should be fine. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • Very, very good. My oven runs on the hot side so I baked mine for 55 minutes. I thought I would bake it a little less the next time I make it but my husband says it’s perfect!
    Do you think this would work with figs?

    • — Tish on September 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • So glad you like this, Tish! Yes, I do think it would work with figs.

      • — Jenn on September 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this yesterday and took along to a group. It was well-loved! And I really enjoyed it too! I used Greek yogurt with a bit of water, instead of the milk. What a delightful cake! Thank you!

    • — Monika on September 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • I absolutely love the flavours in this cake, however, mine didn’t rise as much as expected and had a bit of a biscuity texture rather than moist. I think I went wrong using self raising flour instead of all purpose.

      • — Opel Southward on May 13, 2023
      • Reply
      • Yes, for the best results, I’d use all-purpose flour. Hope you enjoy it more next time around. 🙂

        • — Jenn on May 15, 2023
        • Reply
  • I made this cake at 5000ft altitude after buying some plums at the local farmers’ market, which ripened too quickly. I made the cake by hand (no cake mixer) and scattered a handful of toasted walnuts over the cake batter before topping with my very mushy plums. I adjusted the recipe for altitude as described elsewhere on this site. The cake was just superb, delicious!! Thank you for your wonderful, never fail recipes!

    • — H on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best cake ever. I can’t get enough of it. At 3 a.m. this morning I finally gave in. I baked it early evening so I thought I would wait but at 3 here I sat enjoying this delicious cake. I’m out of plums but there are apples so the next one will have apples. Every recipe I’ve made from this site has been delicious. Thank you!

    • — Maggie on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • This cake turned out perfect. The smell as it was baking was divine. I bought a basket of blue plums and am going to make two more cakes to give to family. Excellent with a cup of tea.

    I have yet to pick a Once Upon A Chef recipe that hasn’t turned out delicious.

    • — Tracy on September 19, 2022
    • Reply

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