Plum Upside-Down Cake

Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly–for breakfast or dessert. Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly—for breakfast or dessert.

I like to think of it as the other fall fruit. Plums that is. 

Although plums are available in summer, their longevity extends into fall. Then they appear at farmers markets, alongside pumpkins, brightening our days when local berries are just a memory.  Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly at breakfast or dessert.

Fittingly this dessert (or breakfast side) arose out of a recent fall vacation. Missing all the travel that we’d done last year, but wary of Covid dangers, I finally had an idea. Why not rent a Northwoods cabin on a lake. Cook in, enjoy nature.

Arriving mid-September, we had little hope of swimming, but there was a canoe. And truthfully, I’d have been happy just gazing out at the lake. One daughter accompanied us for the full week, and another joined us for the weekend with her fiancé.

So I wanted to do have something a little more special with breakfast—and I’d brought plums along with us. The cabin was unusually well appointed with supplies, including flour and baking powder, which I figured had accumulated over the course of summer rentals. So all I needed was a fairly basic recipe.

I ended up with a recipe from Epicurious, then simplified it slightly more. And we liked it so much that I made it again as soon as we got home.

The plum and brown sugar top is caramelized and delicious with a mild but distinct fruit flavor. Slightly crusty, sweet and chewy the cake didn’t make it to sundown.

Just one piece of advice. The instructions say to wait a half hour after baking before turning the cake over. It really does need this time for the molten sugar to re-solidify, and for the cake to set. I jumped the gun on my first which ended up a little lopsided but still delicious! Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly at breakfast or dessert.

If you are lucky enough to have a supply of plums right now, another thing you might consider is putting some away for winter in a little spiced brandy—my favorite preserving method! When winter arrives, I intend to make a slightly boozier version of this cake.Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly at breakfast or dessert.

Yes, it’s hard to believe it’s already October and the plums will be gone soon.

Get ‘em while you can.

Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly at breakfast or dessert.

Plum Upside-Down Cake

Yield: 8

Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-downcake celebrates fall perfectly—for breakfast or dessert.

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 8 medium plums (or enough to loosely cover the bottom), halved or sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • optional whipped cream for serving

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 6 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Pour sauce into a 9-inch-pie pan or comparable cake pan. Top with halved or sliced plums.

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large bowl until light. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Add eggs and extract, then beat until light and fluffy.

Add dry ingredients alternating with milk, mixing just until blended. Dollop batter evenly over plums and smooth to cover. Bake cake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to rack; cool in pan 30 minutes (this is important).

Using a thin knife, cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Place serving dish over pie pan and invert. Gently lift off pan.

Serve warm or cool, with or without whipped cream.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 358mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 2gSugar: 48gProtein: 5g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

Caramelized and slightly crusty, this plum upside-down cake celebrates fall perfectly—for breakfast or dessert.

3 thoughts on “Plum Upside-Down Cake

  1. David Scott Allen

    I love those beautiful Italian plums! Such great flavor! The upside down cake is beautiful – I really can almost taste it from here. There is something so different about the cakes in upside down versions – don’t know what it is but it makes the cakes addictive.

    How nice that you got away — it looks beautiful!

    1. Inger Post author

      This is the year we were going to do the full week at Balloon Fiesta David, so I’m happy we got to do something. Nice to see that AZ at least is managing well…

  2. Raymund

    I have plum trees on my garden, cant wait for it to come out specially now its spring and its blooming. Keeping this recipe so I can make it once I can harvest those plums

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