Plum Cake

Seasonal Eating – Kenya’s “Summer” Fruits

Along the side of the road there are wheelbarrows with green and purple avocadoes neatly laid. Hanging on strings from wooden beams are the all-year round creamy yellow bananas. Wooden stands built any which way but straight, display the bounty of the mango harvest. Along what is meant to be the footpath, women are sat next to sacks laid out like tablecloths. They have set out delicate pyramids of pears, bright red tomatoes and cups of green shelled garden peas. Then, there are actual sacks overflowing with red and purple plums, juicy plums waiting to be measured out in reused blueband containers.

Red and Yellow Fleshed Plums

With so many plums everywhere you turn, why not make this plum cake. I set out 22 plums on the counter, but lost count of how many I ate and how many were used on the cake. Probably 16 should be enough if you are baking in a 9 inch round cake tin. This is not an exact number. You all are smart. And if it turns out to be less, unleash your creativity.

Random points:

This is a good make-a-day-ahead cake because it would allow enough time for the fruit to rest and release its jammy juices into the cake.

This cake is a play on the sweet and tart, as well as soft and crunch. The butter cake is sweet. The plums are tart. The cinnamon sugar coating is a layer of sweet crunch. So, the amount of sugar you choose to sprinkle would be to your preference. Or if you are all about the sweet, serve it with ice cream.

Also, because Kenyan plums are small, cut them like you would a mango. By that I mean, on each of the fleshy sides, but leaving the seed in the middle (see picture below). If using other varieties of plums, simply halve them, twist to separate, and remove the pit.

Not your typical cake

This is not a big cake. It’s on the flat side, but so elegant and pretty. Yet so simple to make. Enjoy!

NYT's Famous Plum Torte


1/2 cup/ 115 grams of soft butter or margarine

3/4 cup/150 grams sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup/125 grams flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

small pinch of salt

2 teaspoons sugar (adjust to your preference)

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Heat oven to 170C/350F. Grease and flour a 9 inch cake tin or whatever you’ve got.

Prepare the plums (see random point #3).

Cream the 1/2 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar until pale in colour and fluffy.  Add in the first egg and whisk until combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and add the next egg. Whisk again until combined.

To the butter-sugar-egg mixture, add the 1 cup (125 grams) flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt. Using a spatula or wooden spoon combine. Don’t overmix.

Spoon the batter into the greased cake tin. Cover the cake with the plums skin side up. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the plums.

Bake in the heated oven. Halfway through rotate the tin. Cake is ready when toothpick or knife when inserted comes out clean.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. BYBRON says:

    Hi Jaber!

    So the moment I saw this recipe I laughed because it was February and in Kenya Plum season is basically from December to late January if you are fortunate. So I laughed because I told self I will have to wait till December to try this. Fortunately this season of Plum has run all the way to early March…

    So I got my Plums… this is the most simple cake I have done so far…not that others are hard, they are simple too but this one is extra simple!…

    The tart and sweet is what we loved most especially my Husband…

    In my second baking of it the plum were not very ripe the tartness was a lil bit more than expected. So I figured it is best to get the ripe(very reddish and juicy) plums.

    Thank you for the extra simple ones too!

    As we always say…on to the next๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. You made it! True. This year the plum season was longer than usual ๐Ÿ˜Š
      Good tip about using ripe plums. Iโ€™m really happy you made it.

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