Upside-down plum cake with vanilla

Upside down-kaka med plommon och vanilj

Upside down plum cake

When fresh plums are plentiful this is a fabulous cake to bake. It looks so good and it keeps remarkably well for several days in a tin. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for upside down plum cake


• You can use any plums in this recipe, but I prefer to use dark-coloured plums as the colour contrast enhances the appearance of the cake.
• In Sweden it is traditionally served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, but I prefer it with some extra juicy cooked plums.
• Place the cake tin on a baking tray in the oven in case any of the mixture leaks out of the tin.


2 tbsp   butter, for frying the plums
450 g (1 lb) firm dark plums, halved and stoned
1   vanilla pod, split lengthways
5 tbsp   brown sugar
100 g (7 tbsp) butter, at room temperature
200 g (0.9 cups*) caster (superfine) sugar
2   eggs
2 tbsp   milk
180 g (1¼ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp   baking powder
1 ml   almond essence (a few drops)

*0.9 cups is 1 cup less about 3 tbsp!


A lined cake tin

1. Lightly grease a 23 cm (9”) diameter cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.  (Use a springform cake tin if you have one as it makes it easier to take the cake out of the tin.)

2. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas 6, Fan 180°C).

Plums being fried with vanilla

3. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the plum halves, 5 tablespoons of brown sugar and the vanilla pod halves. Stir frequently until all the sugar has melted. Lower the heat and cook for about another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the plums are all nicely coated in the caramel sauce. (You want the plums to be tender without becoming mushy and losing their shape.)

4. Place the vanilla pods on the bottoms of the cake tin and then add the plums, cut side down, packing them together as close as possible. Add enough of the caramel sauce from the plums to nicely coat the plums and discard the rest.

5. Beat 100 g (4 oz) butter and caster sugar together until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly and then mix in the milk.

6. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder and the fold into the egg and sugar mixture.  Add a few drops of almond essence and mix well.

A baked upside down plum cake

7. Pour the cake mixture over the plums and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8. Allow to cool on wire rack and then turn out upside down on to a serving plate, so that the plums are on top.

A slice of upside down plum cake with whipped cream

9. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or cooked plums.  (For extra cooked plums, cook them as in step 5 but omitting the butter.)


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