Plum and Cinnamon Cake

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableAs this blog has gathered pace and found it’s feet, so Jake has learned his place in the hierarchy – photos first, then he gets to eat. He always asks before cutting into a cake or digging into a casserole – well, until Sunday just gone. I baked this Plum and Cinnamon Cake, uploaded a quick snap to Instagram with a flippant remark about not being able to wait a day for it to settle and mature and woke up in the morning to find that there was a huge, messily cut piece missing from it!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableJake had got in late, couldn’t resist the smell or the look of it, didn’t dare try to take the ring off the springform pan so cut it out the best he could. He said he thought I was sleeping which is why he didn’t ask. Well, I’m not one to get upset when it comes to food being eaten so I determined to do the best I could with it, when it came to the photos. A bit of crumb tidying, fruit prodding and a dusting of icing sugar took care of most of it but the missing slice is well and truly missing!!

This recipe was printed every autumn in the New York Times from 1983 until 1995 when Marian Burros, the food columnist (who got the recipe from Lois Levine, co-author of Elegant but Easy) said that it would not be re-printed, so this was the last chance to clip it out. I have seen it numerous times and in various versions around the web but Deb Perleman of Smitten Kitchen, who always manages to make me want to cook anything she makes, posted it recently and I caved.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableThe batter is quite meagre and you will feel that it won’t be enough, once you spread it out and that maybe an additional egg or more baking powder or a smaller tin…don’t panic, don’t fiddle – it comes out perfectly. The original recipe calls for halved plums skin side up but I quartered mine so that some of flesh got the heat of the oven. And you want to go for tart, ripe ones for the best result. It does seem better the next day – the whole thing softens and the plums get jammy. And the smell – no wonder Jake couldn’t resist helping himself to a slice!!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableThe cake rises just enough to cushion but not encase the plums and the combination of the sweet, tender, vanilla sponge, the tart juicy, jammy plums and the sugar and cinnamon dusted top is utterly heavenly! I am helping a friend host a Macmillian Coffee Morning fundraiser next week and this is definitely going to be served.

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's TableI’ve tweaked it a little – I’ve added vanilla to the batter and added less cinnamon to the top. Next time I may reduce the sugar a little too but if the plums are more on the tart side than the sweet sponge is the perfect foil for them. And it’s really easy to make. Quarter the plums and set aside. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the softened butter and sugar then add the eggs, one at a time, finally mix in the flour and scrape into the prepared tin. Arrange the plums over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake!

Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's Table
Plum and Cinnamon Cake | Selma's Table

Today, Elaine the inspirational blogger behind Foodbod and I are co-hosting Fiesta Friday #34 which is held by the generous, creative and wonderful Angie @ The Novice Gardener. Do take a look at Angie’s latest post – I mean, can food from the garden look any prettier? You can also see who has been featured from last week’s submissions. And what can I say about Elaine – she makes the most delicious looking and sounding food all of which is dairy, wheat and meat free – she also makes and sells her flavour packed dips and goodness bars so do take a look at her blog.

Click on the Fiesta Friday badge below to join the party – you can submit a post (be sure to include a link to Angie  FF#34 post – it’s only polite and also ensures that you can be considered for a feature next week!)  or just take a look at others are up to!  If you are new to blogging, Fiesta Friday is a great way to gain exposure and make new friends too.

If you’re new to Fiesta Friday, please read the guidelines.


Plum and Cinnamon Cake

  • Servings: 8 generous -12 skinny slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Marian Burros’ Famous Purple Plum Torte  and Deb Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen Purple Plum Torte


  • 140 g plain/AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of table salt
  • 150 g of golden, unrefined caster/superfine sugar
  • 115 g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 8 medium ripe, tart plums
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 Tbsp Demerara sugar


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C/ 170C Fan assisted/ 350 F and prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by buttering the base and sides or using grease proof paper – see my tips and tricks page (Baking – tip 3) to read how to do this.
  2. Halve the plums and twist to remove the pits, then halve again and set aside.
  3. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a cereal bowl and hand whisk to incorporate the 3 ingredients throughly.
  4. Place the butter and sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated – scrape down the sides after each addition. It may look curdled but if you add a spoonful of the flour mixture all will be well again.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the vanilla paste/extract and beat only just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, scrape under to make sure that there is no raw flour and mix in if there is.
  7. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth it out to cover the base. It will seem very scant but don’t worry – it will be enough!
  8. Arrange the plums from the outside into the middle, keeping it quite tight.
  9. Scatter over the cinnamon and the Demerara sugar and place in the pre-heated oven.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Insert a tester (toothpick or a bit of dry spaghetti) into the cakey part – if no batter is left clinging to it then it’s done. If there is batter clinging to it then pop it back in for 5 mins increments and keep checking.
  11. Try and make this the night before to let it mellow, covered and at room temperature, when it will be at it’s best.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

114 thoughts on “Plum and Cinnamon Cake

  1. What an absolute beauty!!! Every image is just gorgeous ☺️☺️ I love that’s Jake waits before tucking into food to make sure you’ve got your photos, we’ve got them all well trained now haven’t we??!! Thank you for your lovely words, my gorgeous Selma x x x x x


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  3. Sooo beautiful!!! I love it!! Well, like your son, my husband too now asks if he can eat what I’ve prepared or will there be a photo shoot first. Haha! Makes me laugh everytime. Have a fantabulous Friday Selma! I shall be brave and try making this at some point! xx


  4. Wow Selma, I want to reach out and grab. If there’s extra at the party, may I have another piece pretty please? These late Summer/Fall fruit tart/pies/cobblers/squares are just so versatile aren’t they? I love your colors, textures and can only imagine what the taste must be like. Poor Jake, at least you kept your cool, I would have exploded if the finished product was tampered with before the photo shoot :)). Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for co-hosting yet again!


  5. Selma, this is just divine! So funny about Jake and the missing piece! I am constantly lecturing my husband about “sampling” before I get the photos done, so your story really made me laugh! Funny how blogging changes our household, don’t you think? Thanks so much for co-hosting! You and Elaine are so good at this by now, that I bet you can do it with your eyes closed! ;-)


    • It has just taken over – to the point where friends ask before tucking in or say – you should blog this…!! It’s a pleasure to host such a wonderful, creative bunch of people Julianna – thank you for making the rounds too – you make everyone feel very welcome!!


  6. This plum cake looks divine Selma. I definitely understand why Jake couldn’t wait. “Learned his place in the hierarchy”- I laughed at that lol

    Thanks for co-hosting this week too. Happy FF :-)


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  8. Hmmm…. Sigh!!! droooool…….What would I do to get this on my plate. How can something look soooo gorgeous….Lucky Jake! At least he gets to eat , in whichever order. Sigh!! droool……
    The sighs are bcos, I am not sure even if I try it will turn out this amazing and secondly trying would mean waiting for a couple of days more…


  9. I recognize the wait for the photographs! :) But I can see how this cake, it sounds like a slice of cake heaven, would tempt anyone! I see plums for sale everywhere and will have to give it a go, it looks delicious!


  10. I grew up in Bavaria where plum cake is a speciality. I feel like I can actually smell the sweet, slightly tart fruit aroma with that gorgeous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
    I’m not at all surprised Jake couldn’t resist… clearly the best compliment you could ask for.


  11. Can’t blame Jake, this cake does look too good to wait for! I’ve never arranged fruit slices on top of the batter for a cake. Do you think this technique would work for egg-free recipes as well? Yours has risen so well around the fruit and made it look beautiful.


    • Thanks Apsara – I don’t have that much experience with egg free cakes but certainly a stiff batter should support the plums and the raising agents should do their job and cushion them – if you try it, do come back and let me know – I will edit the post to include your findings and credit you too x


  12. Ha ha the life of a food-blogger! I tend to bake when my family is not around or engaged elsewhere, so I can take a few photos before they pounce on it :D Cant blame Jake though, that is one of the most scrumptuous cakes I have seen, Selma! Gorgeous!!!


    • Thanks Naina – praise indeed coming from you! I normally do the same – bake when he isn’t around but this time the cake needed to settle overnight – I guess he thought that I had already got the photos by the time he came in…


  13. Selma, this looks absolutely incredible! I would not be able to resist it either, I don’t blame Jake! And the way you describe it with the jammy, tart, soft plums and the sponge cake just encasing them…. Ahh I want to reach into the screen for a slice! Thanks for hosting this week!


  14. Oh Selma, being a Mother I know exactly what you mean about not getting mad. How can you not love it when whatever you make is just so good that it is irrestible. Jake actually added to the story and the cake image I think. I am a big plum fan and you have made the type of cake that I just adore…simple, hearty, earthy and no icing. Just perfection and beautiful.


    • Teresa, it’s just about keeping things in perspective – I mean if it was for a big paid photo shoot, then it would be problem but it’s not – it for my little blog where I record recipes I like! I would love to see what you make of this cake and how you style it – you have the BEST eye!! xx


  15. The photos still look great! Its natural and real with the piece missing:) Famous recipes are famous for a reason, must be amazing, can’t wait to try it, will let you know when I do:)


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