Brown Sugar Cornmeal Plum Cake

Cornmeal cake with plums on a plate.

I’m a pushover for summer desserts – ice creams, pies, cobblers – you name it, however, cake as a rule doesn’t make it into the top ten.  The idea of making batter, baking it, waiting for the cake to cool, then making frosting and using my arguably rudimentary skills to decorate it… it just seems too fussy for an August day  This Brown Sugar Cornmeal Plum Cake is the exception.

Slicing plums for the cake.

This is just making a batter, filling it with ripe plums and baking.  Easy-peasy and really delicious.

Adding sugar to the sliced plums.

Summer plums have that puckery sweet-tart flavor.  They’re juicy and absolutely yummy — but even better enrobed in an delicate cornmeal cake.  The batter with brown sugar and cinnamon lends an even richer flavor.

Combining the dry ingredients for the cake.

And it doesn’t require any special embellishment.  At all.  Which moves it from “not on the top 10 list” to the head of the pack!

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Mixing the batter for the cornmeal cake.

This cake also straddles the line between coffeecake and dessert.  Perfect for brunch or delicious after dinner with a scoop of vanilla or a dollop of whipped cream.

Arranging plums in a circular design over a layer of cake batter.

The best part for me is the interplay of the brown sugar cornmeal cake and the tart, jammy, oozy goodness of the plums.

Dolloping the rest of the cornmeal batter over the fruit.

Because when you bake plums in a cake, they transform from a solid, into a puddle of magenta lusciousness.

The baked cornmeal plum cake.

The golden dome belies the pockets of fruit tucked throughout the crumb.  Don’t believe me?  See for yourself…

The plum cake after removing from the pan, showing the jammy fruit filling.

See the purple bliss that’s barely contained in the cake?

An overhead picture of a slice of cornmeal cake is removed from the whole.

It’s moist, tender and truly irresistible.

a slice of cornmeal plum cake on a white plate.

I served this one for dinner when my brother was visiting — and since there was a smidge leftover…  we had it with a cup of coffee for breakfast the next morning…

More Easy Summer Cakes:

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Cornmeal cake with plums on a plate.
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4 from 4 votes

Brown Sugar Cornmeal Plum Cake

Moist, jammy with a hearty crumb – this delicious plum cake is like summer magic!
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, coffee cake
Dietary Restrictions Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8


For Plums:

  • 5 plums
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For Cornmeal Cake:

  • cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°.  Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 9″ round to fit the bottom of a 9″ x 2″ cake pan.  Spray the pan liberally with vegetable spray.  Place the parchment in the bottom of the pan and spray again.  Set aside.
  • Slice the plums into 6-8 wedges each and transfer to a bowl.  Sprinkle with sugar and toss to coat.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Whisk to combine and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, sugar and brown sugar until creamy – 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating each one in before adding the next.  Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
  • In two additions, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk to the sugar mixture.  Don’t overmix.
  • Spread 2/3 of cake batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Arrange the plums in concentric circles starting at the edge and working your way around the pan.  Dollop the remaining batter over the plums (it doesn’t need to completely cover them).  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if using) and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  
  • Cool the cake on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature.  Carefully turn the cake out onto a plate and flip it over so the top side is up.  Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla.


Store leftovers at room temperature, well wrapped in plastic wrap or in a covered cake stand.


Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 190mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 620IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1.9mg

Don’t Forget To “Pin It” For Later!

This easy plum cake recipe works well as a coffeecake or dessert! Bake tart plums into a sweet brown sugar and cornmeal batter for an easy, delicious treat!

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now. It’s really good – and it’s not too sweet. I’m not big on really sweet desserts, so this was perfect for me. Love what the plums do as it bakes. Really really good.

    1. I like how the plums melt down in it too! So glad you like it, Angie!

  2. Plum cake is totally new to me, your pics say it All -just mouthwatering saving your recipe and off to get some plums.

  3. This looks like it will make the perfect summer breakfast cake, and the plums are looking so good at our farmers market right now, love this!

    1. Glad you like it, Sue! Yes the plums at the market are perfect for this right now!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m not one for making fancy, elaborately decorated cakes either, and anything that straddles the coffee cake – cake line is right up my alley! Never baked with plums before, nor cornmeal. Must try!

  5. this looks deliciously light and fluffy! I am saving to try soon, thank you!