Suitcase Foodist

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

Once upon a time I had the crazy notion to start and run a farmers market.  I worked on it for 3 years and 2 full market seasons.  I felt like a summertime carnie – it involved a lot of set up and take down of tents and running around in the heat and the sun making sure my farmers and growers and food vendors were taken care of.

I was lucky – I had an amazing board, great vendors, fun farmers, and a top notch crew and a lot of community support.  Often I would get lucky and a farmer would hand off some bonus produce at the end of the night.  One such night, I happened to get a HUGE sack of Italian plums.

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

I made jam.  And there were still plums left over.  We ate some out of hand.  And there were still plums left over.  So a version of this cake happened.  I’ve tweaked it a bit here and there over the years.  Added some warming spices.  Experimented with adding bitters.  Didn’t have Italian plums and used standard black plums. Switched from milk to evaporated milk as the liquid….

Stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots and such) are delicious in an upside-down cake that can show off how colorful they are.  This one comes together quick.

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

The other trick I discovered with an upside-down cake is to lower the temperature of the oven and bake the cake for longer.  It means that the fruit doesn’t burn, the edges don’t get crisp and the center isn’t soggy.  The added moisture of the fruit was causing me all these issues early on.  All fixed by just lowering the temperature.  I’m sure the die hard bakers out there were born knowing this.  But die hard baker I am not.  So it was a total revelation.

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

Final thought.  Have you used aromatic bitter in baking?  I mean, they are usually used in cocktails.  But if you haven’t tried them in place of vanilla extract in baking, you are seriously missing out.

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake | Suitcase Foodist

I served this beauty with a dollop of vanilla bean crème fraîche but whipped cream would be equally delicious.


Italian Plum Upside-down Cake

Italian Plum Upside-down Cake


  • 2 tablespoons Butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 6-10 Plums, halved & pitted
  • 3/4 cup Butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Sugar or Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk (12 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon Aromatic Bitters or Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Graham Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teasppon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cloves


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit in a 10" springform pan. Place the parchment in the bottom of the pan and grease the sides and the bottom with butter.
  2. Coat the bottom of the pan with 2 tablespoons brown sugar - spread evenly around the pan. Add the plums, cut side down to the cake pan. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the butter, sugar, coconut sugar or brown sugar, eggs and evaporated milk. Blend or whisk until combined into a thick liquid.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together all purpose flour, graham flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, & cloves.
  5. Create a well in the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients and combine until a smooth batter forms.
  6. Pour the batter over the plums in the cake pan. Once all the batter had been added, drop the pan from several inches up onto the counter to release any air pockets around the fruit. Do this several times.
  7. Put in the oven and bake at 300 degrees for 65 - 85 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clear. Or until a thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165.
  8. Remove from the over and allow to cool for at least 1 hour before releasing the springform pan, inverting the cake and revealing the top. Be sure to remove the parchment paper before serving.
  9. Add a dollop of crème fraîche or whipped cream to serve.

This recipe is part of the Eat Seasonal series by Becky from The Vintage Mixer.  I’m always so inspired by the creativity that comes out of this group.

Here are the other great seasonal recipes you REALLY need to go and check out:

Healthy Turkey, Zucchini & Rice Casserole by Cookin’ Canuck

Caramelized Onion Galette by The Vintage Mixer

Roasted Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Graham Cracker Waffle Cones by Food for My Family

Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Panzanella Salad by Completely Delicious

Coconut Cherry Cobbler by Kitchen Confidante

Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Zucchini Boats by Flavor the Moments

Healthy Berry Crisp with a Coconut Oat Crumb Topping by Joy Food Sunshine

Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, and Gorgonzola Bites by Letty’s Kitchen

5 thoughts on “Italian Plum Upside-down Cake

  1. Tammy

    This looks delicious. One thing I love to do for these dense fruit cakes is to use polenta. I bake it in cast iron and have had great results. Now off to find some plums…

    1. Lydia Post author

      What a great suggestion Tammy! I love the idea of using polenta. I’ll have to experiment with swapping it out with the graham flour next time. I bet it would be delicious with apricots.

  2. marcie@flavorthemoments

    Plums are so underused and I’ll bet they taste amazing in this upside down cake! This looks incredible.

    1. Lydia Post author

      They really were stunning in this cake. I love how the top is all kinds of pinkish-purple.