Plum Buttermilk Cake with Walnuts

August 31, 2012 Published by Dina

Plums are in season and there all kinds of types and colours available at the market. I like baking with prune plums and have been waiting their arrival with anticipation. Finally they were at the market on my last visit (everything is late here) so I bought a bunch and have been having fun with them in the kitchen. I made plum jam, plum butter, plum sauce, plum fruit soup, plum pizza, plum muffins and now a plum cake. I had to try and empty the fridge because I am going to Kelowna this weekend and cannnot take “stuff” with me this time (see my post on A Foodie Packs to go on Vacation). So, I have been preserving, pickling, baking and making all kinds of salads and vegetable dishes and so far no one is complaining around here.

This is a particularly easy recipe for a plum cake, no mixer necessary and you can mix everything by hand in one bowl (I like to cook but doing dishes, not so much). I bake this cake in a 9″ springform pan so I can remove it from the pan and place on a cake plate. I made a little plum sauce to go with it but whipped cream or simply ice cream is just as good. Try and arrange the plums in a circular pattern on top of the cake to make it look pretty. I cut them into quarters and lay the pieces on their side on the batter. The batter will puff up around them so they will shift but this is a comfy dessert so that’s okay, nothing formal. Also, I have been using self rising cake flour lately because I bought a bag and want to use it. If you don’t have self rising flour then add 1 teaspoon baking powder per cup of flour. And yes, the crumb you see on the plate above is known as “soil” in culinary circles. It’s like a cookie crumb. I make it and keep in the freezer and sprinkle it on “stuff” when I am inspired. Professional kitchens always have it on hand but I think it was brought into popular consciousness by the fabulous (and young) pastry chef Christina Tosi at Momofuku’s Milk Bar in the Big Apple. Ever since I read her book I have been keeping the various “soils” in the freezer.  The one I make is more like “sand” than “soil”. See recipe below.

Well, here is the recipe:


1 1/2 cups self rising flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoon ground walnuts

1/2 cup oil or 1 stick butter, melted

2 eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

12-14 plums, quartered, pits removed

1 tablespoon sugar


Pour oil (or butter) into a large bowl. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Add buttermilk and stir.

Add flour, baking soda, salt and walnuts to the egg mixture and stir with a spatula until blended.

Pour batter into a 9″ springform pan (you can spray the pan with non-stick spray).

Arrange the plum quarters on top of the batter in a concentric design.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over the plums.

Bake at 350℉ about 25-35 minutes or until done.

Plum sauce

2 cups plums, halves and pitted

1/2 cup sugar

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Combine plums, sugar and lemon juice in a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a steady simmer and cook until plums are broken down and mixture is juicy.

Keep cooking until the plum sauce thickens a bit and become syrupy.

Use immediately or keep refrigerated in a glass jar until needed.

Dessert “Sand”

1 cup flour

1 cup graham crumbs

1/2 cup milk powder

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine flour, crumbs, milk powder and sugar in a food processor and mix.

Add melted butter and process until crumbly. If it seems dry add an other 1/4 cup butter, melted.

Spread the mixture on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 350℉ until golden.

Let cool completely and then place in a food processor in batches and process until crumbly.

Keep well sealed in the freezer.


Plum cake
Plum cake





  • Tartufo says:


    The directions mention vanilla but there is none in the ingredients list. So I put in a teaspoon of almond extract because it goes well with plums. I wish I had been at your house during the All Plums All the Time period. The colour of the plum sauce is beautiful and I look forward to making it.

  • Julie says:

    How much oil? Its not in the ingredients list but is in the directions?

  • bellini says:

    It looks amazing Dina, and we do have plenty of Okanagan Plums.

    • Dina says:

      Thanks Val, I love cooking with them. Very mediterranean as well. It’s so fun to cook seasonal. There is always something new.