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5 from 3 votes

Sour Plum Brown Butter Upside Down Cake

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 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.


    Serving: 6g