Brown Sugar Plum Cake

Plum cake, peeps, one of the most special sweet treats around, if you ask me. Plums are the perfect balance of sweet and tart when baked, and this particular cake has the most tender, flavorful crumb, and comes together in a jiffy (my favorite kind of cake – the “in a jiffy” kind –  if you must know).
Brown Sugar Plum Cake | Jessie Sheehan BakesI was a little worried that using whole plums (sliced in half, mind you) would result in soggy cake, but because you place them in the batter skin-down, the skin contains the juice and the cake remains perfectly moist, but not wet. And when you bite into a piece of juicy plum, it bleeds into the cake in the most plummy and perfect of ways. 
Brown Sugar Plum Cake | Jessie Sheehan BakesI love this cake with plums, but will be making it with apples for the fall . . . it is the perfect blank canvas for whatever fruit the season is offering up. And for the loveliest of crackly tops, generously sprinkle the pre-baked cake with Turbinado sugar – no matter the fruit you use, this step is a win-win.

Brown Sugar Plum Cake

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5 from 1 vote

Brown Sugar Plum Cake

Recipe Author Jessie Sheehan


  • about 7 small red "sugar" plums 1/2 pound
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp table salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 yolk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • Turbinado sugar for generously sprinkling
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for serving


  • Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray or softened butter and line with parchment You can also use a 9-inch cake pan, but you might have a little more trouble removing the cake from the pan. Set aside.
  • Slice the plums in half, remove pits, and set side.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the oil and sugar and whisk vigorously to combine. And the egg, yolk and vanilla, and whisk again. Add the sour cream and whisk a final time.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and with a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine. Do not over mix. Stop folding when there is still a streak of flour or two.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and decoratively place the plum halves on top, skin side down.
  • Generously sprinkle the cake with Turbinado sugar and place in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes, rotating the cake at 20 minutes and testing it for doneness at 35. The cake can be pulled from the oven when a tester inserted in the center comes out with only a moist crumb or two. Once cooled enough to handle, remove the sides of the pan. Using a large spatula, slide the cake onto a platter or cake stand. Serve slices warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


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