Like most fruit, plums become much sweeter and juicier as they ripen. In this cake, I arranged thick, ripe plum wedges on top of a spiced vanilla cake batter, and then topped them with LOTS of streusel crumbs. As the cake bakes, the plums release their juices and become kind of jammy, a nice contrast to the tender cake and textured crumb topping. And because almost everything’s better with icing, I drizzled a good amount on top of the crumbs. This cake also works nicely with peaches or nectarines.


Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Plum Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons (127 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large (100 grams) eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 cup (121 grams) whole milk
  • 1 pound (454 grams) ripe red or black plums, pitted and each cut into 6 wedges


  • 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract


Make the crumb topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until well blended. Add the melted butter and mix with a fork, stirring until the butter is absorbed and the dry ingredients are uniformly moistened. Set aside the crumb mixture.

Make the cake:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a parchment round. Dust the sides of the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt. Whisk until well blended; set aside.
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is lightened in texture and color. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and blend. At low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth is into an even layer. Arrange the plum wedges in in concentric circles over the top of the batter, covering it. Top with the crumb topping, covering the plums. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the crumb topping has browned  and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (try not to hit a plum). Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
  1. Remove the side of the pan and let the cake cool completely.

Make the icing and drizzle it on:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar with 1 tablespoon of the milk and the vanilla until smooth. If it seems too thick, gradually add enough (or all) of the remaining milk until the icing is of a drizzable consistency.
  1. Spoon the icing into a small disposable pastry bag and cut a small hole in the tip. Place the cake on a wire rack over a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and drizzle the top with the icing. Allow the icing to set for about 15 minutes before moving or serving the cake.

Recommended Equipment:

Cuisinart 9-Inch Chef’s Classic Nonstick Bakeware Springform Pan


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Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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