Brown Butter Plum Upside Down Cake

by jenna on August 8, 2012

I realize I haven’t posted a dessert recipe in about a week now.

WHO AM I?!??!

I don’t know why, I just felt like there was a big call for savory lately. I took that into consideration and stashed away my sugar for six days, but I’m sorry because I can’t hold out any longer. My soul needed a dessert…and yours does, too.

Plums are taking over the produce section everywhere right now, and this brown butter plum upside down cake is the most delicious way I know to make good use of them. There’s only so much plum jam you can make, people. Sometimes you just need to bake a cake.

And this cake is especially gorgeous and tasty! I love upside down cakes. They’re just so fun because the look like a plain ol’ cake in the oven and then when you flip them over—-tah-dah!!!!!!

I really think that if people knew just how easy upside down cakes were to make, there would be a lot more of them going around.

I was going to say something profound here on the merits of brown butter. But then I realized there’s nothing I can say here now that I haven’t said a zillion times over the past five years of blogging. So, you know. You know. Just do it.

And then stick some ice cream on it!!

Brown Butter Plum Upside Down Cake

makes 1 cake, serving 8

Print this Recipe!


2 lbs black plums, ripe but still firm to the touch

1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tbsp)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice the plums 1/4″ thick using a sharp knife. This will be easier if the plums are ripe, but not so super juicy that they don’t slice easily. Look for ones that are still a bit firm to the touch. After you slice your plums, set slices aside.

In a cast iron skillet, heat four tablespoons of the butter (1/2 stick). Melt butter and then continue to brown butter (head over here for a browning butter photo tutorial). Once butter has browned, immediately add the brown sugar and stir. Cook sugar and butter, stirring constantly, for three minutes. Pour mixture into a greased 9″ cake pan, spreading all over the bottom of the pan using a rubber spatula.

Arrange the plum slices on top of the brown sugar/butter mixture in the cake pan. You should be able to get three circles of plum slices out of this, overlapping if necessary. Set aside.

Cream together the remaining stick of butter with the granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating constantly. Then, add the vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add these dry ingredients alternately with the milk and continue beating until light and fluffy.

Spread cake batter right on top of the plums. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Let cool three minutes before saying a quick prayer and flipping cake pan over onto a large plate. Serve cake with vanilla ice cream!


~1 hour

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

JulieD August 8, 2012 at 6:51 am

I think brown butter makes everything better. This cake is beautiful, Jenna!!


Liz @ Southern Charm August 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I agree! Brown butter DOES make everything better!


elizabeth @ chronic venture August 8, 2012 at 6:54 am

ooo yumm, this looks beautiful!!


Michelle @ Eat Move Balance August 8, 2012 at 6:57 am

What’s most amazing about the cake is that it just LOOKS beautiful. I can only imagine how good it tastes!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 8, 2012 at 7:10 am

I think Jess @ How Sweet It Is would be very happy to hear your ‘just do it’ attitude towards brown butter! I’ve never actually made an upside down cake myself, but pineapple is the first one that comes to mind. Love the idea of using plums!


Caroline L. August 8, 2012 at 7:19 am

Get in my tummy nowwww. (Also, that red is such a wondrous color!)


kim@hungryhealthygirl August 8, 2012 at 7:20 am

That cake is gorgeous! I haven’t had a plum this year and I think this cake gives me the perfect excuse!! 😉


megan @ whatmegansmaking August 8, 2012 at 7:21 am

I don’t bake nearly often enough with plums! Actually, I’ve never baked with plums :) Looks great!


Jacqueline August 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

That’s the prettiest plum I’ve ever seen! YUM!


Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots August 8, 2012 at 7:39 am

ugh! I die for pineapple upside down cake, believe it or not Panera makes a mean one! But this sounds fantastic as well!


Lily O' Dare @ Candied-Life August 8, 2012 at 7:47 am

holy plum photo!! *runs to nearest market for plums to recreate this masterpiece*


Cait's Plate August 8, 2012 at 7:48 am



Jill August 8, 2012 at 7:49 am

This looks so good! I can just imagine how great this would taste with ice cream and a cup of coffee!


Christine August 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

Lovely! I can’t wait to make this.

Reply August 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

I’ve done pineapple upside down cake before but never with plums – what a creative idea!


Amanda August 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

This looks phenomenal, and that ice cream puts it over the top!


Allyn August 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

You had me at browned butter


Heather August 8, 2012 at 8:32 am

Beautiful photos! I just started getting into plums this year and am looking for another excuse to bake something with them. The brown butter takes it to another level!


Moni Meals August 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

Sure! Why not!! Yum Jenna! In season fruits with brown butter, a- okay with me!! 😉


Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles August 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

Oooh. I have a special place in my heart for plum cakes. Brown butter too!


Katie August 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

I’m sitting here in my cubicle on my lunch break drooling all your Babaganoush Soup as I read this post. Yum! I think you should have me over for dessert! Has anyone ever had you over for dinner and used one of your recipes? That would be funny.


Kristen August 8, 2012 at 9:08 am

Would peaches work here, or are they too juicy? I went a little crazy at the farmers market the other day and need to use a few up before they turn to mush. This looks deeeelicous!


Tara@Sugar Spice and Bacon August 8, 2012 at 9:29 am

Yum! I always find baking with plums to be a bit “sticky” :) but this recipe looks so great it might be worth a try!


Averie @ Averie Cooks August 8, 2012 at 9:52 am

Jenna this cake is just oozing with plum loveliness! Mmmm, it looks so good and I love upside down cakes and need to make them more often.


Laura @ She Eats Well August 8, 2012 at 9:54 am

I think this cake is appropriate for a lovely Summer brunch! I love the photography in this post too. Such beautiful plums :)


joelle (on a pink typewriter) August 8, 2012 at 10:28 am

This cake is stunning!! I want to make one for my parents!


Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat August 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

Ooh I love plums! What a great idea.


jenna k August 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

i love following you on instagram… it’s like i’m getting a special sneak-peek at the blog! :)


Atti August 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Just wondering how the cake would turn out if I left out the “upside down” part? Any ideas? I’m just a little rebel *lol*


Kristen @ notsodomesticated August 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Gorgeous cake!! I absolutely love plums. When you get a really good, ripe one … nothing is better!


Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} August 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

This looks SO good! I can’t wait to grab some plums and give it a try!


amy walters, aDESIGNdock August 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Mmm….yes, today was a good day for a dessert post! I’ve been craving ice cream all through work and love the big scoop plunked on top of this beautiful upside down cake. Delightful!


Amanda August 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm

One word: Nom.


Maria August 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I just made a plum cake too! Will be trying yours next!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama August 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Perfect timing! We just picked a boat load of plums today from a local orchard!


Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out August 8, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Look at that gorgeous color! Oh, summer perfection!


The Meaning of Me August 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Don’t love to bake, but this is beautiful enough to make me think about it!


Gillian August 8, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Yummy. delicious


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar August 9, 2012 at 3:34 am

I love how easy this is! And pretty!


Molly @ RDexposed August 9, 2012 at 5:19 am

Confession: I lived on “Plum Street” for 21 years and have eaten maybe 1 plum during my entire life. I feel somewhat like a fraud for it. I need this recipe in my life.


Lora @cakeduchess August 9, 2012 at 5:36 am

Love this recipe and the plums look so juicy and gorgeous. Hope you are having a wonderful summer:)xx


Rachel @ The Avid Appetite August 9, 2012 at 7:02 am

I adore upside down cake…so beautiful and so delicious! I usually go with pineapple, but this plum version is just gorgeous!


Renee C. August 9, 2012 at 8:25 am

OMG!!! Jenna- I made this cake last night and it is AMAZING!! I actually had exactly 2 plums in my house that I planned to eat with lunch but said what the heck and made a late-night decision to bake! This cake turned out super moist, full of flavor and delectably sweet with the plums! Thank you so much for this great recipe!


Kare @ Kitchen Treaty August 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

Good gosh! I have some plums in the fridge that were destined for baby food and jam, but now … maybe not. Gorgeous!


Sonal August 9, 2012 at 9:29 am

What a pretty cake!! :) I love plums and I love cake = together i think they will be a success :)


Sucre en poudre August 9, 2012 at 10:13 am

it looks great!


Julie August 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Wow. I just put this cake into the oven and the batter alone is spectacular, cannot wait to taste it later.


Madison August 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Looks divine. You always take the most beautiful photos. I read your blog every morning and look forward to it. Thank you for inspiring me!


Liz H August 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Looks great! Are there going to be any more of great grandma’s recipes coming up? I feel like it’s been a while since the last one!


Stephanie @ Life Tastes Like Food August 9, 2012 at 6:17 pm

This looks so tasty, Jenna! And Fresh! I’m going to try it out next time I’m making dessert..woo!


Mary-- The Yellow Door Paperie August 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I made this cake tonight for a gathering. We all loved it! Even the kids were asking for more plum cake!

Thanks for the great recipe!


Kelly @ My Love Affair With Running August 10, 2012 at 5:26 am

This looks delicious! I love fruit based desserts.. especially when you can use juicy, seasonal, fresh fruit. Can’t wait to give this a try next weekend when we have people over :)


Javelin Warrior August 10, 2012 at 6:31 am

This has to be the definition of a perfect upside down cake – love the color and the ratio of cake to fruit! So beautiful… I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks always for keeping me inspired with new ideas…


tara August 10, 2012 at 7:00 am

This looks great, do you think it could be made with fresh figs? My neighbor has a fig tree that I have free reign over and there are a ton!! Thanks!


Megan August 10, 2012 at 7:03 am

This recipe is very, very close to one I’ve been making since high school(which, let me assure you, was some time ago). In fact, I’ll be making several for my sister’s wedding this fall. But, I’ve never browned the butter, so I can see that I have some test baking to do before then. Thanks for sharing.


Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See August 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Oh plums….YES PLEASE. :)


gwen August 10, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Jenna, can this cake be made ahead of time? I’d love to bring the cake into my office — especially since I probably shouldn’t be trusted alone with baked goods! — but I’m not sure if it would do well sitting out…


Dennis Blair @ Fort Collins Personal Trainer August 13, 2012 at 2:07 am

I never made a cake with plums but my mom just simply loves plums so I am going to make this cake for her. Thanks for sharing.


Health n Fitness Care August 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm

That looks yummy and tempting too. Must be rich in calories as well, mind telling me some alternative for the sake of calorie conscious people.


Beth August 14, 2014 at 5:58 am

I have made many pineapple upside down cakes in my iron skillet. Can I just put the plums on top of the browned butter and sugar mixture then add the batter and bake in the skillet as I do the pineapple recipe?


Catherine September 20, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Beth, mine (in a cast iron skillet) came out of the oven minutes ago… it’s amazing! I baked it for 40 minutes and it came out perfectly. Funny we both want to try this 2 years after she published the recipe. Did you make it? It’s a keeper!


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