Sour Plum Brown Butter Upside Down Cake

Breakfast, Desserts

Sour Plus Brown Butter Upside Down Cake // A Cozy Kitchen

You guys, I usually hate summer. Hate. Sitting by the fire, wearing scarves and loving autumn leaves is more my thing. This blog is called a cozy kitchen, after all. There’s not a lot of coziness going on in the summer time, unless you include turning the AC on blast–which I don’t have, unfortunately–to 50 degrees and piling on the blankets. I dream of this.

But this year I’m not minding summer. Maybe it’s the bbqs with friends or the summer dresses from Target that I’m loving or the summer fruit. I feel like all that stuff combined has made sweating a-ok. (Kinda.) These sour plums were a gift from my dude. He doesn’t give me jewelry; he gives me fun produce. I don’t mind one bit.

Sour Plus Brown Butter Upside Down Cake // A Cozy Kitchen

These sour plums are tart. Phew. So good and tart.

Big gigantic note: these are not to be confused with sour green plums. The sour plums used in this cake are a lot less tart than sour green plums. Sour green plums will make your face contort in unattractive ways. I’ve had a few in my day and man, they’re so tart they’re borderline unenjoyable. These sour plums are almost the same color as regular ol’ plums and about half the size.

Bonus: this recipe will totally work with regular ol’ plums, too. I’d just recommend going with very firm plums. This way they’ll keep their shape in the oven through the baking process.

My favorite part about this whole dang cake is how the sweet, nutty brown butter coats the plums. It’s a dreamy cake that’s even better served with a big dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Sour Plus Brown Butter Upside Down Cake // A Cozy Kitchen

Sour Plus Brown Butter Upside Down Cake // A Cozy Kitchen

Ok…I’m going to talk about something boring right now! Are you ready?! As many of you know, Google Reader shut its doors today. This is so very sad, especially since so many of you read this blog via Google Reader.

I ended up transferring my Google Reader to Feedily. I think the layout is absolutely beautiful. I recommend it.

You can also follow me on Bloglovin, too. OR via email subscription. (To sign up, enter your email in the right hand column.)

And of course, there’s Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. I always update my posts on those lil’ things.

Sour Plus Brown Butter Upside Down Cake // A Cozy Kitchen

Sour Plum Brown Butter Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Serving Size: 1 twelve-inch cake



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 4 ounces 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 white granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups whole milk

Sour Plum Topping:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pounds sour plums, about 10 plums, halved and pitted


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a small to medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Next, in a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla; and then mix until the mixture is smooth.
  • To the butter and sugar mixture, mix in half of the flour mixture and the milk. Then, mix in the remaining flour mixture, being sure not to over mix.
  • In a 12-inch cast iron skillet (*see note below about alternative vessels), melt the butter over medium heat. Cook the butter for 2-3 minutes, until it begins to turn a light brown color. Using a spatula, coat the sides of the cast iron skillet with the butter--this will ensure the cake won't stick. Mix in the brown sugar, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg until the sugar begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let stand for a few minutes to cool slightly. Next, arrange the plums to your liking. Just be sure to put as many as you can fit, and pack them tight--the plums shrink as they bake.
  • Pour the batter over the plums, and spread the batter gently so it’s nice and even. Transfer the cast iron skillet to the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. To invert the cake, run a butter knife alongside the outside of the cake and place a (large enough) plate on top of the cast iron skillet and turn both of them over; lift up the cast iron skillet and voila! Your cake!

I like to serve this cake slightly warm with a dollop of whipped cream, but ice cream is a good move too.


    If you don’t have a 12-inch cast iron, you can surely use a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 10-inch cake pan. If you use a 10-inch cast iron skillet you may have a bit of batter leftover and the cake part will be thicker. No biggie! If you use a 10-inch cake pan, you’ll need to do step #4 in a skillet and then pour the caramel mixture into the cake pan.
    Nutrition Facts
    Sour Plum Brown Butter Upside Down Cake
    Amount Per Serving (6 g)
    Calories 0
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply Anita July 1, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Food gifts are the best! Your dude sounds great – and this cake looks amazing

  • Reply Nicole July 1, 2013 at 3:05 am

    I’ve heard a lot about Google Reader shutting down, but I have no issue as I use FeedDemon. You can purchase it (no ads!), or just use the free version that I do. I subscribe to all my favourite blogs using FeedDemon and I think it’s great.

    Also your blog is awesome. AWESOME!

  • Reply Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe July 1, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I don’t really like summer, neither but summer fruit are just oh, so good! This cake looks tarty, flavorful and delicious, especially considering that plums are one of my favorite fruit!
    Thanks for the inspiration, as always!

    xo, Elisa

  • Reply Tieghan July 1, 2013 at 5:42 am

    This is gorgeous and makes me think I would love plums. I have actually never had one, but trust me after seeing this I am running to the store today and buying a whole bunch. This is so pretty!

  • Reply Sarah July 1, 2013 at 6:04 am

    This looks gorgeous! I love winter too. Nothing better than being warm on a chilly night!

  • Reply Jaclyn July 1, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I love plums…never baked with them before though so I’d love to try this!

  • Reply Nora @ Buttercream Fanatic July 1, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I love the idea of upside down cakes, but am not the biggest fan of the pineapple variety (too sweet). Using sour plums is the perfect alternative for me – thanks!

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator July 1, 2013 at 8:58 am

    yum, sour is the best! Do you get a fall season in LA?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 1, 2013 at 9:01 am

      We do but it comes late. Like in November which is depressing for me. September and October are rather warm. 🙁

  • Reply Sarah @ First Night Design July 1, 2013 at 9:52 am

    I have to try this!

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog July 1, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Wow, this tart looks amazing. I love sweet and sour. I don’t think I’d be able survive without A/C. Baltimore is so muggy during the summer months.

  • Reply [email protected] July 1, 2013 at 9:56 am

    What a sticky looking cake, it sounds delicious! Here In the UK it’s more like autumn than summer, we don’t get very good summers.

  • Reply Megan | Hint of Vanilla July 1, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I’m with you in the love/hate summer relationship. I spend the whole year looking forward to the good parts (sunshine, beaches, swimming in the ocean) but forget all about the not so great parts (sweating, having to work indoors when its sunny, and sweating some more). Baking is especially difficult in the summer. Standing by an oven or a stove when your apartment is already 26 degrees? No thanks

  • Reply Jamie @lifelovelemons July 1, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Oh my goodness this is beautiful

  • Reply Eileen July 1, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Ha, I usually hate summer too–and right now it’s hot enough that I’m definitely in the “ugh, whyy” stage. But the fresh stone fruit helps make up for the heat! This cake looks fabulous–I may try it out with some of our backyard plums. 🙂

  • Reply Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 1, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Yes please to plums with brown butter!

  • Reply Jennifer July 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    This sounds insanely amazing

    xo Jennifer

  • Reply Jayne July 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Like how fluffy the cake is. And with the plums on top. So gorgeous. We don’t get spur plums here much. I can replace this with any soft fruit, right?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 1, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      I bet it’d work great with sliced peaches too! I’d just go with firmer ones.

      • Reply Jayne July 1, 2013 at 8:28 pm

        Wow… you reply really quickly! I’ll try it out soon! My parents would love this 🙂 Pinning for later.

        • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm

          HA! Not all the time, but I just so happened to be sitting at my computer reading through comments. 😉 Sounds great, let me know how it goes!

  • Reply Jennifer July 1, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Looks fabulous! I have plums falling off my tree in the yard! I will be making this tomorrow! I love, love, love your blog! Thank you!!!!

  • Reply Christina @ The Beautiful Balance July 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    I’m with you. It is 118 degrees here in Scottsdale, AZ and I have zero tolerance for it. This recipe screams summer and gives me the perfect excuse to stay indoors and bake. Afterall, my oven is cooler than outside!

  • Reply Tina July 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Ur dude is way cool!! Love that! This looks divine!

  • Reply Cass @foodmyfriend July 3, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Hehe my Tyler suprises me with food gifts all the time. I love it. This looks perfect. I wish we had some warm weather my way!

  • Reply Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl July 5, 2013 at 8:39 am

    This is a beautiful cake, your pictures are wonderful!

  • Reply Barbara July 7, 2013 at 8:54 am

    In your recipe you say 1/2 white granulated sugar. Is that 1/2 CUP?

  • Reply Carlos Mitchell July 10, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    The cake is simple but tasty, and the cast iron gives the edges a nice crust. The plums, which I can find bitter in their fresh form, mellow out as they bake to become lightly sweet and tart, even the peel. A dollop of whipped cream makes a slice even better.

  • Reply Douglas B. Lewis July 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

    The cake is simple but tasty, and the cast iron gives the edges a nice crust. The plums, which I can find bitter in their fresh form, mellow out as they bake to become lightly sweet and tart, even the peel. A dollop of whipped cream makes a slice even better.

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  • Reply Jill S Rafael June 19, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    For some reason the cook time shows 7 hours 30 minutes?