When those first cooler days in September signal the coming of autumn, it's time to go to the market for Italian prune plums and bake up this delicious easy summer plum cake. Late summer plums are mixed into a simple batter with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, lemon, and a secret ingredient that makes this a dessert meant for sharing.
I was first inspired to make this cake after being gifted the Original Plum Torte recipe by Marian Burros, at my bridal shower. My mom had guests write their favorite recipes on recipe cards (remember those?). I then had the pleasure of sifting (no pun intended) through all of them when the party was over. This one stood out since it was the first time I had heard of Italian plums. While the original is delicious, I have adapted it over the years by adding almond flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest, and my secret ingredient (keep reading to find out).
What are Italian Plums?
This cake uses Italian plums, also called Italian prune plums or European plums. They look different than the commercial plums available in supermarkets here in the United States. Italian plums have an oblong shape, and their skins are more cloudy than shiny. When cooked, Italian plums impart a sweet jammy consistency that turns the prettiest hue of pink when their juices are released. They are sometimes a rare find in supermarkets, as their season is quite short. They make their appearance in late summer and early fall for a few weeks. Whenever I see them, I make sure to stock up to make this delicious cake.
Why you will love this easy summer plum cake
It really is simple to throw together, and pretty foolproof once it hits the oven. Bonus, if you can't find Italian plums than you can use any stone fruit. It's delicious served alone or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I find it makes a great breakfast cake or tea time indulgence.
My secret ingredient
In addition to the vanilla extract, I love to add Fiori di Sicilia. If you are a fan of Italian panettone, then you may already be familiar with this flavor. It has a combination of citrus and vanilla with a delicate floral aroma. I like to add a small amount to desserts to bring out the citrus notes in the fruits. If you can't find Fiori di Sicilia, you can simply substitute the same amount with additional vanilla extract.
For the full list of ingredients and instructions, please see the recipe card.
Prepare your ingredients. In one bowl prepare the butter and sugars. In another bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Cream together the butter and the sugars. Add the eggs, vanilla, Fiori di Sicilia, and lemon zest.
Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, mix the batter until just combined. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients and stir.
Place the batter into a buttered 9" springform pan or equivalent. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Place the plums skin side up and arrange in a pretty pattern.
At this stage, the cake is ready for the oven! Bake at 350° F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.
- I highly recommend the addition of the almond flour. It keeps the cake super moist. If you don't have almond flour, you can just double the all-purpose flour.
- You can substitute the Fiori di Sicilia for additional vanilla extract.
- If you can't find Italian plums, use any stone fruit you like (think peaches, regular plums, nectarines, apricots, etc.)
- Prepare all your ingredients in advance.
- I like to bake this cake in a springform pan since it makes a pretty presentation, however, you can use whatever kind of pan you like. An 8 or 9" baking pan is the best size. Don't use anything larger or there will not be enough batter for the cake.
- It may not look like you have enough batter at first, but the cake will rise slightly above the plums.
- Allow the cake to cool before dusting with confectioners' sugar (if using).
- Serve warm or room temperature either alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Easy Summer Plum Cake
- 1 9-inch springform pan or equivalent-sized pan
- 1 handheld mixer or stand mixer
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5-6 Italian plums pitted and cut into quarters
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Fiore di Sicilia
- confectioners sugar for dusting, if desired
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9" springform (or equivalent) pan on the bottom and up the sides.
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or handheld mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar on medium until creamy. Add the eggs and mix until just combined.½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, ½ cup dark brown sugar, ¼ cup white granulated sugar, 2 large eggs
- Add the vanilla extract, Fiori di Sicilia, and lemon zest. Stir to combine and set aside.½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon Fiore di Sicilia, ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- In a medium bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.½ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup almond flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until no flour is visible.
- Spoon batter evenly into the prepared pan. Place the plum slices (skin side up) on top of the batter, and arrange them in a pretty pattern. Press the plums gently into the batter.5-6 Italian plums pitted and cut into quarters
- Bake at 350° F for 32-40 minutes until golden brown, or until a tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.confectioners sugar for dusting, if desired
Did you make this recipe? Let me know!