caramelized plum cake

After months of waiting, the Italian plums are finally ripe. The almond-shaped fruit is firm and sweet, with a tangy skin – sturdy enough to withstand some heat. Add butter, brown sugar, and a splash of brandy; you’ll find it’s a combination of pure magic. As my fork found its way into the caramelized plums for a sample, I briefly considered polishing off the entire pan. Restraint won out, however.

I settled on a quick and unfailingly delicious almond cake as the base for the plums. Their syrupy juices infuse the batter during baking, resulting in a moist and light cake. I can’t think of a better way to transition from late summer to early fall.

Caramelized Plum Cake
Caramelized Plums
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups Italian plums, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp brandy

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely ground
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add plums and brown sugar; sauté until fruit is soft but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in brandy. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Whisk together ground almonds, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium-low and add egg and almond extract; beat well. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture, beating just to combine. Add buttermilk, then finish with remaining flour mixture.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish; smooth top with an offset spatula. Arrange caramelized plums on top of batter in a single layer; spoon juices over fruit. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake an additional 20 minutes, until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days; warm before serving.

Yield – 16 squares (serving size: 1 square)
Calories – 165
Carbs – 25

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  1. Lora @cakeduchess says

    I was very happy to see the Italian plums this weekend. I ate them all before baking with them;)This is my kind of a cake…looks delectable, Laura. xx

  2. says

    The caramelized plums are just hypnotic! What a grand idea, to intensify the tart yet sweet flavor of the fruit and then capture all that goodness in an almond cake. What a lavish introduction to fall baking!

  3. says

    I had no idea these are called Italian plums. My grandma has two plum trees and she always uses these type for preserve. She says they are sweeter than the rest and don’t need much sugar.
    Your cake looks delicious Laura! A very tempting fall cake

  4. says

    I think it’s so hard not to eat the whole thing after you caramelized the plums… I would need a double amount just in case. I’m not sure if I have had Italian plum. The almond cake for plum sounds wonderful. Very simple yet great match. You must have enjoyed tea time… wish I was your neighbor! 😉

  5. says

    Oh how I love Italian prune plums! They are most definitely worth waiting for! Especially when you carmelize them and pair them with a luscious almond cake. Perfect for the end of summer or beginning of fall! : )

  6. says

    I love almond sweets of all kinds but you’ve just made this cake even better with the plums. Caramelized plums with brandy? I don’t know that I would have been able to resist as well as you did. I can almost smell the brown sugar/brandy goodness!

  7. Jennie says

    This looks wonderful and I have a lot of plums to use up! I don’t cook with alcohol. Do you have a recommendation for a substitute or should I just leave it out? Thanks!

    • Tutti Dolci says

      Hi Jennie, you could flavor the plums with almond extract (probably 1/4 tsp) or vanilla extract once you remove them from the heat. Hope that helps!

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