Italian Plum Upside Down Cake

Do you know what happens this Saturday?

The new season of Doctor Who premieres this Saturday, but you guys already knew that, didn’t you?

I thought so, but you never know. I figured I’d tell you, just in case.

It has absolutely nothing to do with today’s post in any way whatsoever.

But I knew you’d want to know…it’s important information. You’re welcome.

I’m preparing by watching the show from the beginning of Christopher Eccleston’s Nine, right through to last season’s episodes.

I had to force myself to watch David Tennant’s Ten say goodbye. It’s only the second time I’ve watch that particular moment…it hurts my heart to watch it.


The point is, there’s no point. I just love The Doctor, and I think you should, too.

So watch it this Saturday. And if you’ve never seen it before, you can watch every, single episode on Netflix Watch Instantly. You’re welcome. Again.

Want some cake?

We have these two trees in our front yard, alongside our driveway, that have been dropping fruit on us for quite a while now. At first, the fruit was mostly green, with a bluish hue. We inspected them, but they smelled very green and pungent, so we really thought that they were inedible. As time went on, though, they went from green-blue to deep blue to vibrant purple, and we noticed something chewing on them. After a little investigation, we learned that both trees are Italian plum trees. Since then, we’ve been harvesting them like mad, and the trees don’t seem to be letting up. Pretty much, what I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if you see quite a few plum recipes on here while we’re stationed in Oregon. 🙂

Now, maybe this is pretty common knowledge, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I learned recently that the best way to slice fruits that need to be pitted, like peaches, plums, and apricots, is to find the little crease on the outside of it. Slice straight into that crease until you hit the stone of the fruit, then continue to slice all the way around the fruit.

Now, the fruit should pull apart relatively easily, and the stone will come out without much effort. So there you go. You probably knew that already, but whatevs. Once you’ve removed the stone, slice the halves into quarters (or however you’d like them).

The topping, or rather, the bottom, for now, of this cake is a little mixture of butter, caramelized sugar, and jam. I used strawberry jam, since that’s what I had this time, but I usually use apricot with the plums. You can’t taste a difference or anything, so use whatever you have.

Now you get to get all artsy and arrange all of the fruit and make things all pretty. 🙂

Throw some cake batter on top and bake.

As with several of my desserts lately, don’t even bother letting this cool all the way. Definitely enjoy this warm from the oven, preferably with some fresh whipped cream and maybe a little dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Here’s a little secret for you: this was my first ever upside down cake. First. Ever.

I liked it.

Talk about easy. Slice some fruit, mix some sugar and butter, make the fruit look all pretty and stuff, pour on some seriously simple cake batter, bake, and eat. Why have I never bothered with this before?! One thing’s for sure, I’ll be making more of these. Soon.


Italian Plum Upside Down Cake
Makes one 8-inch round cake


3 tablespoons (43 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cups (128 grams) brown suger, packed
4 teaspoons apricot jam (or any jam or preserves desired)
6 Italian plums (or any fruit that you choose), pitted and sliced into eighths (you can also skin them, if desired)

1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (188 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (134 grams) sugar
2 large eggs

To make the topping: Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together. Stir in the jam until combined. Simmer the mixture for about 3 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, and allow to cool completely.

Once the sugar mixture is cooled, arrange the sliced plums across the bottom of the pan; set aside while you prepare the cake batter.

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C).

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mix, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Scrape the sides, as needed. Stir in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of milk, mixing until just combined between each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Do not overmix.

Pour the cake batter over the prepared fruit. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a wire cooling rack, for 30 minutes. Turn onto a serving plate or cake plate and serve warm.

Recipe by Darla

Leave a comment


  1. Kimberly F says

    Thank you! Keep the plum recipes coming, I live in Seattle and the plum tree in my front yard is yielding way more than know what to do with! So far I’ve done pork loin with plum sauce and plum galette. Next up, plum rosemary jam and plum lavender ice cream.

  2. STEPHANIE says

    WOW! look delicious. I also hae plum trees in my yard but have yet to do make any recipes with them other than so homemade jam that I use on thumbprint cookies at Christmas time. Thanks Darla I love your blog!

  3. says

    I saw your instagram picture of the plums earlier, and they looked so delicious. As does this cake! I was just flipping through my regular blogs, and I stopped on this one and verbally said “whoa!”

    So thanks for the recipe!


  4. says

    We’ve been catching up on Doctor Who, and we love it!! I didn’t know the new season started this soon. I can’t wait!

    This cake looks divine. I love how easy and how pretty it is.

  5. says

    Darla, this looks amazing. I adore the pattern of the delicious plums. I was watching the Great British Bake Off today and they were doing tarts with fruit like this but none of them looked as pretty as this.

    Also, I’m in the UK but wondered where you bought your berry box where you have your plums in, in your photo? (That sounds rude, huh!) Would you mind sharing?

  6. Joanna says

    Have I mentioned I love your nerdiness? It makes me so happy. I’m super excited for Doctor Who! I really should at least rewatch the last season, but we’ll see if I have time. The cake looks divine too!

  7. Michelle C. says

    I agree that Doctor Who is AMAZING!!! I am in season 4 right now with Donna (love her). Miss Rose though. I only have Netflix so I won’t be able to watch the premier of the new season but some times I like better waiting for the ENTIRE season so I can watch it all at once. Funnily enough, as much as I love the show some times I have to take a breather because they get so deep and emotional mixed in with all the hilarity. I re-wound one part in The Fires of Pompeii 4 times between The Doctor and Donna because it was so freaking funny. Anyway, I just wanted to contribute to the Doctor Who love and say how beautiful this dessert looks. Enjoy the season premier! Allonsy!! (love 10 😉 )

  8. Rosa says

    Oooh, this cake looks too pretty to eat! Plus, I’m not much of a plum eater. Never had much luck picking out tasty plums at the store. 🙁 But I’ll give any of your recipes a try…

    I’m SOOOOO excited about the new episode of Doctor Who this Saturday! SQUEEEEEE!! And in honor of day and the lady that got me into Doctor Who, I will be making your (faux) fish fingers and custard for the viewing. Thanks, Darla!

  9. Cecily says

    That cake looks great. Try a pinapple one. It’s a classic for a reason. The fruit in Oregon is so good. I just love this time of year. By the way, I just wanted you to know; bowties are cool, and so are fezzzes. Saturday night will be great!

  10. Marcie says

    The first time I made it, I played around with the recipe. It ended up overly gooey like bread pudding and the whole house smoked up. Then I made it again, following the directions exactly. Perfection! I’ve learned my lesson.

  11. morri says

    Wow. This cake made such an impression on me, and I was crushed to think that I wouldn’t manage to bake it this season… because fresh plums had all but ended. Fortunately, I found some leftover cold store plums at an eco fair last week, so I immediately grabbed a bag. The result?

    I used prune butter for the topping, as the recipe said any fruit preserves would do, and I figured that plums should go well with plums. It tasted divine, but it definitely wasn’t as pretty, because the plum pattern wasn’t visible after baking. I also had to bake the cake for much longer – it was well over an hour before it became golden and firm, instead of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey 😀 (probably because my oven is nothing like Doctor Who – it’s fanless!). Everybody loved the cake, and I loved the fact that for once in my life I didn’t have to worry about plum juice soaking the cake and leaving pockets of slack-baked batter. Thanks for posting this!

  12. Bikeynw says

    Just made two of these tonight so I could deliver one to my neighbor who’s trees I raid every year for different recipes. We were not even done our cake before he called to say “Best treat yet!”. My husband and I agree, keep those recipes coming Darla, love Marla

  13. Angela says

    I made this yesterday and it was excellent. The only changes I made were to sprinkle a 1/4 cup of toasted almonds on the plums and to add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to the cake mixture. The almonds gave it a bit of a crunch and the flavour was wonderful. Thank you for the recipe.