My Favorite Plum

Now we arrive at the time of year where I am writing about recipes just as their ingredients are going out of season. I can’t keep up with the farmers and I always fall behind. But, with any luck, we’ll have another harvest next year and you will have this recipe. For the record, I have tried in the past to just save the recipe and photos and post them eleven months from now, but it never works. I forget what happened and don’t feel as connected to the recipe. So, on with it—plums!

A few years ago I ate a plum which I consider to be the best piece of fruit I have ever eaten. We bought it from a stand at the Boulevard Raspail farmers market in Paris. Bryan and I stood on the street sharing the single plum. Yes, of course, being on holiday in Paris did not hurt—context is always important. But that plum! Since then, plums have gained a special place in my heart (stomach?). They are undeniably beautiful fruit and, like most fruits, when they are great all you need is a napkin. The rest of the time, they are wonderful in cakes and pastries.

Nigel Slater calls this  “A pudding cake of honey, cinnamon, and plums”, because that’s how he rolls.  The recipe is from Ripe, which is a beautiful book, nevermind cookbook. I consider Ripe and Tender to be two of the best cookbooks ever written—please go get them right now. But back to the cake, it is lovely like all of Slater’s recipes. It bakes to this beautiful dark brown and the fuchsia plums are rippled through. It is sweet, making it more of a dessert than a snacking cake. If you want to push it over the top, pour some heavy cream over your slice of cake.

Maybe some of you will still have a few plums lying around. The rest of you should add this to your bookmarks for next summer.


A pudding cake of honey, cinnamon, and plums adapted from Ripe by Nigel Slater

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 slightly heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (220g) golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup (125g) butter
  • 1/2 cup (125g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 12 ounces (350g) plums
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon into a bowl.

Warm the golden syrup, honey, and butter in a pan until the butter melts. Stir in the brown sugar. Halve the plums, or cut them into quarters if they are large, and remove the pits.

Break the eggs into a bowl, pour in the milk, and whisk to combine. Pour the golden syrup mixture into the flour and mix with a spoon. Pour in the eggs and milk and continue stirring until you have a loose batter without any traces of flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, scatter the plums in the pan, and bake for 35 minutes. Place a piece of foil loosely over the top of the pan and leave to cook for 15 minutes longer. Switch off the oven, but leave the cake in for a further 15 minutes, then remove and leave to cool.

***I know some of you are going to ask about substitutes for Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I don’t like substitutes. BUT, my friend Emily made this with brown rice syrup and enjoyed it. But seriously, get thee some Lyle’s.

56 comments to “My Favorite Plum”

  1. I have loads of plums lying around, so this recipe is just fine by me!! Awesome :)

  2. I do the same thing with seasonal produce. I just made a tart with nectarines in it today! This looks beautiful — I’ll have to go searching out the last of the plums at the markets in Paris this week.

  3. Amazingly, I happen to have a few plums in a bowl on the counter that are begging to be turned into this cake. Even better, I have some free time tomorrow afternoon; thanks for giving me a Monday project!

    Reading this post, I’m a little sad that I promised myself not to buy any more cookbooks between now and December, but, fortunately, both of Nigel’s books are on my Christmas list…I guess this year it’ll have to be “all good things come to she who waits!”

  4. I love Ripe as well, and this cake looks fantastic. Love the combo of spice cake and plums – YUM! Love it. :)

  5. This cake looks so moist and sticky, which I LOOOOVE! I’m afraid to make it only because it will end up being my snacking cake and not my JUST for dessert cake lol. Last week I made to loafs of Zucchini cake… I eat both loafs all by myself…. YIKES. I better run some cals off before I make this dark brown delight. I love your blog BTW, its number two on my bookmark bar along with sprouted kitchen :)

  6. Luckily you have fans from the opposite hemisphere where these fruits are just starting to come into season! Keep em coming!

  7. Thank goodness plum season runs late in Germany! I’m swooning over the combination of honey, plums and season. Oh that Nigel Slater. He is such a gem. And quite the humorist as well.

  8. What a beautiful color for a cake!

  9. I agree.. Ripe is a beautiful book.. you can spend hours with it!! Nigel Slater is such an evocative writer… and this cake will have to be for the next year for me!! but its just beautiful!!

  10. I have Tender and will most definitely be getting Ripe – I always listen to Tim + Amelia suggestions. This looks very delicious and the title alone makes me feel so good. I love your plates.

  11. My favorite plums are the ones that grow ou the tree in my backyard–tiny cherry plums with dark red skin and flesh. The only problem is that they ripened in June! :) This cake looks amazing!

  12. Oh yes love Nigel Slater and all his books. I can’t imagine nt being able to get hold of Tate & Lyle’s golden syrup. The tin is a thing of beauty in itself!
    I have been eating lots of plums recently along with tons of allotment blackberries :))x

  13. This is making me hungry.

  14. This looks delicious. Will you forgive my ignorance if I ask what “Lyle’s Golden syrup” is? What is it made from? I’ve never noticed it at the grocery store.

  15. Hi Kate- Of course, sorry! Lyle’s is a staple in the UK and is basically a sugar syrup that has a unique flavor that isn’t easily replicated. People try substituting honey or corn syrup/molasses mixtures. For my taste, you need Lyle’s (or another brand of golden syrup). Some grocery stores carry it, especially if they have a British section. It is easily ordered online.

  16. This looks sensational! Love the boxed serving. I would love this with a dollop of creme fraiche!

  17. This looks delish. I am looking forward to making it soon. Ripe and Tender are two of my favorite cookbooks, as well! Made a whole meal based on them this past weekend with his Plum and Tabbouleh Salad along with his Broccoli Soup. YUM!

  18. oh, I do hope there are still a few plums lingering at the farmer’s market this thursday. this looks like a close cousin to gingerbread, or sticky toffee cake, both of which I ADORE. would love to make this before next summer!

  19. on that note, question: does it matter what kind of plums? I feel like the only kind I still saw at the market last week were the italian prune plums. will those work just as well as the red-fleshed rounder plums?

  20. Hi!
    I love your blog. You are an amazing writer and photographer. Thank you for the book recommendation; I just ordered Tender for my husband, as we have a very large vegetable garden but often have no use for everything we grow :)

  21. Jenny-You can use any plums you like. The Italians will be good.
    Kellie Ann- Thanks so much! That is really kind. You’re going to love Tender.

  22. I ate a life-changing plum this summer, and became completely smitten by the fruit. Any cake with honey and spice is one I simply must try.

  23. I always sample plums at the wrong time, they never taste good to me :\ But I think putting them in this cake would help!

  24. I made this cake last night and it came out AMAZING!!!!! I could not find the Golden Syrup, but I was able to find organic Brown Rice Syrup. I used more honey and a little less of the Brown Rice Syrup. It was the perfect sweetness and the plums keep it unbelievably moist. Great recipe!

  25. Arielle- thanks for letting me know! Glad to hear you liked it…

  26. This looks absolutely amazing…better than the original, cannot wait to bake. Thank you. Did you use a 9 inch square tin? It looks a little diff in your pic xx

  27. This looks so good! Cant wait to try it :)

  28. It’ll work well for the antipodean summer/autumn in a few months..

  29. Hi Sarah- Yep. I used a 9-inch square cake pan.

  30. I’ve just made this cake twice for my workmates. They were so thrilled yesterday that I had to bake it today again.

    It’s true, I haven’t found here Lyle’s Golden Syrup so I replaced with molasses.

    So, thanks for the idea!

  31. Perfect timing! My friend just dropped off a huge bag of beautiful, Italian plums. I’ve mad plum compote, plum crostata and now I shall make plum cake!

  32. love love love the plate…. can’t wait to make the cake with our plums. (and I have golden syrup) My favourite cooking plums are ‘Omega’, so I will try it with them. Love your blog and smile a lot when I am reading it. We found a wonderful foodie place in London this summer called ‘Ottolenghi’. Put it on your ‘list’ next time you are in the UK. love to you bothxxxx

  33. Jill! So glad you found Ottolenghi- it is the best. You should check out his cookbooks, they’re fantastic. Hope to be in the same place someday soon. xo

  34. My first plum experience is quite possibly one of my favorite memories since moving to Paris 2 years ago. My husband came home from the market with a brown paper bag filled to the brim with mirabelle plums and I died and went to heaven. Your recipe inspired me to get out the door and find some to make your delicious looking cake. Thanks for sharing such a great seasonal recipe.

  35. I used to go plum picking when I was a child. They were absolutely the most delicious plums in the world. We would eat and eat and never have enough. I wonder how delicious this would be with some of those plums from my childhood. Thanks for sharing…

  36. I have the opposite problem. I move on too quickly. But I’ll take a step back for this cake!

  37. This looks and sounds delicious. Can I use molassas instead of golden syrup?

  38. Hi Lamour- I would not recommend it, the flavor is very different. You could try a mix of honey and molasses? Or brown rice syrup seems to work pretty well as a sub

  39. I’m the same way! I’ve been craving peaches all week. Beautiful photos!

  40. This looks like a perfectly amazing use for the last of the plums, and the golden syrup in my cupboard. Nigel Slater is indeed an exquisite writer, and I love how raw and natural the photos in his books are. Thanks for this beautiful post! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one writing about the produce that’s about to go out of season..

  41. Just made this tonight – totally amazing! I used more plums than the recipe called for (4 big ones) because I had some I wanted to use up, and the recipe fit perfectly in a 9×13 cake pan. (Woo, more cake!) For those wondering about substitutions – I used dark corn syrup and it turned out really well! Obviously I haven’t made it the original way so I don’t know how it would compare, but I did think the results were wonderful with the dark corn syrup. So, I think that’s a pretty good substitution for those with access to your average American grocery store.

  42. I made this last night, and it was every bit as good as I thought it would be. Moist, decadent and just delightful. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Hey Sara, I am shocked this worked in a 9×13 pan. Was it very thin? Glad you liked it!

  44. I made this and it came out great, I used an 8×8 pan and had to cook it a little longer. My boyfriend and co workers loved it, my OSS said it was the best cake she’s had and wants it as her wedding cake, I would add a pinch of salt in the future and possibly cut the sugar back a tad.

  45. Laura- Glad you liked it. I agree on the salt and sugar.

  46. Just realized I used two sticks of butter which is double. Super yum

  47. Laura, you’re a bad influence.

  48. I am such a plum fan.. they are so underused at this time of year! Plum cake sounds just dandy – thanks!

  49. Two days ago I came home after 8 days in hospital (surgery and complications). Had no appetite until I got back to your blog. This plum cake will be high on my list of things to do when I’m mobile again. Also, the apple cocktail gave me the will to live. It sounds scrumptions! Hugs from another fan.

  50. Aw, Peg! I hope you’re feeling better. It will be great to get back in the kitchen and eating delicious food. Speedy recovery!

  51. Would stewed plums affect the consistency of the cake? We’ve canned them all for the season but I’m really hoping they could do the trick!

  52. Hi Théa- I don’t know, I haven’t tried. If you do, let us know! They’ll lack the brightness of fresh plums, which seems like a loss- but maybe not?

  53. I made it tonight, it was wonderful. I drizzled the stewed plums on top of the batter, so when I inverted it there was a lovely caramelized plum coulis sitting atop of the delicious cake. A definite keeper, thank you so much for your blog!

  54. I’m not sure if this was previously discussed but you can find Lyle’s Golden Syrup at most Cost Plus World Market locations!


  55. Wonderful cake.

  56. What a beautiful cake. Just amazing. I will try this cake. Thanks for the recipe. I always used to order cakes from Monginis online cake shop.

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