This yogurt plum cake has a tender, moist crumb (olive oil and yogurt help keep it soft). The plums cook down into fruity jewels that caramelize where they touch the pan. Basic pantry ingredients make this a perfect anytime cake that's quick to put together. This is an easy, gently sweetened plum cake recipe that you can eat for breakfast, snack or dessert.
This cake falls into the easy, one bowl category that I love so much. (There's this chocolate bundt cake, and this chocolate orange cake too, along with these two Italian cake delights: torta tenerina and torta paradiso.) Sometimes you want to eat cake, and you don't want to go to a huge effort to make it!
This plum cake fits the bill perfectly. It's light, delicately sweet, moist, and just a bit tangy from the addition of yogurt. You can mix it up in just a few minutes with common ingredients you have on hand at home. It's incredibly flexible, so if you don't have plums, consider substituting another stone fruit, or folding some berries through the batter.
If you like plum recipes, also try this spiced plum coffee cake with streusel topping!
- Olive oil - I like to use olive oil because the peppery flavor compliments the plums nicely. If you prefer a more mild flavor, feel free to replace with a neutral oil such as avocado, grapeseed or canola oil.
- Granulated sugar - This is a gently sweetened cake; I wouldn't reduce the sugar further.
- Eggs - I use large eggs in my recipes. Have them at room temperature. If you've forgotten and they're still cold, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes prior to adding.
- Vanilla extract - You can use vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste.
- Yogurt - You can use full fat Greek or regular yogurt here - make sure it's unsweetened, or the cake will be too sweet. I like to use Greek yogurt for the added protein. The fat content of the yogurt isn't critical, although a full-fat yogurt will provide the best flavor and texture. The yogurt should be room temperature to help it incorporate easily into the batter.
- Baking powder - Baking powder provides leavening. Make sure your baking powder is fresh!
- Kosher salt - I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt.
- All purpose flour - to provide structure.
- Plums - I used black plums to make this plum cake. I've also made it with red plums and Italian prune plums (Damson plums). If you do use Italian plums, make sure they are fully ripened as they tend to be more tart than other varieties.
- Turbinado sugar (not pictured) - Coarse raw sugar crystals add a delightful crispy texture and a bit of sweetness to the cake top. Generously sprinkle the sugar on the exposed batter after adding the plums, just before baking.
See recipe card for quantities.
Learn how to make plum yogurt cake!
Line an 8 inch (20 cm) pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Set aside.
Cut plums in half and remove pits. Slice each half into four wedges. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add olive oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
Whisk thoroughly for at least a minute until fully mixed and a bit lighter in color and consistency.
Add yogurt and whisk again until no lumps remain.
Add flour, baking powder and salt. Using a spatula or spoon, gently stir just until flour is incorporated. There will be small lumps in the batter. Don't try to remove them or you'll overmix the batter and it will be too dense.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level using a spoon or a small offset spatula. See the little lumps in the batter? They're going to disappear - it's OK!
Place sliced plums onto batter, starting at the outside and working your way in. Don't press the plums into the batter - you want them to stay on top. Sprinkle the exposed batter with a generous amount of coarse Turbinado (raw) sugar.
Bake cake on middle rack of oven for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4). The cake is done baking when golden brown and starting to pull away from the edges of the pan.
If desired, sprinkle cake with powdered sugar immediately prior to serving. Serve plain or with yogurt, whipped cream or crème fraîche.
Hints: Be sure to test the cake with a toothpick or paring knife when baking. I like to put the toothpick in the cake near the side of a plum, as the batter underneath takes a bit longer to cook due to the additional moisture. The toothpick should come out with just a few crumbs attached. If it's still gooey, bake the cake for 5 more minutes and then test again. Don't overbake, or this deliciously moist cake will be dry!
- Other fruit - If you don't have plums on hand, you can swap in another stone fruit such as peaches, nectarines or apricots. Cut up rhubarb (tossed with sugar) or thinly sliced apples would also work.
- Yogurt - You can substitute sour cream for the yogurt if you don't have any yogurt in the fridge and want to make this cake!
Give these variations and serving suggestions a try.
- Spiced yogurt cake - Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon cardamom to the cake batter for a cozy, warming touch.
- Citrus zest - Grate the zest of an orange or lemon into the granulated sugar and massage it in with your fingers. This helps incorporate all the flavor from the citrus oil. For an extra citrus punch, add ½ teaspoon orange or lemon oil when adding the vanilla. Citrus oil is concentrated and helps provide a powerful flavor burst. I find it to be much more flavorful than alcohol-based extract. I often use this specific flavoring.
- With crème fraîche or mascarpone - Serve a spoonful of tangy crème fraîche or rich mascarpone on the side.
- Almond flour - Replace half of the all purpose flour with finely ground almond flour. It lends even more moisture and a deliciously nutty flavor.
- Brandy glazed - Mix up an easy glaze using 120 grams (1 cup) powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon brandy, and 2 Tablespoons orange juice (or milk). Drizzle onto the cake once cooled. If you'd like a glaze but prefer not to use alcohol, simply replace the brandy with an equal measure of orange juice or milk.
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To bake this plum cake, I use a Fat Daddio 8 inch diameter round pan with 3 inch sides (20 cm diameter round x 7.6 cm tall). These heavy duty aluminum cake pans are excellent quality! I use Fat Daddio pans for all my cakes.
You could also bake this cake in a springform pan - it does make getting the cake out of the pan easier! If you have an 8 inch (20 cm) pan, go ahead and use it. If all you have is a 9 inch (23 centimeter) springform pan, that will also work. Start checking the cake at the 40-45 minute mark.
Parchment paper is great for lining the base and sides of the springform pan. One roll of this 15 inch x 164 foot (38 centimeter x 50 meter) non-stick paper lasts a LONG time! If you have access to a Costco store, the price is often a bit better.
Store this plum olive oil cake at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. It should not be refrigerated.
Although it's possible to freeze leftovers, this cake absolutely tastes best when fresh. The plums will be impacted by the freezing and thawing process, so I only recommend this if you're saving leftovers. Bake and serve this cake fresh if at all possible.
To freeze leftovers, wrap in plastic wrap and place in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature prior to serving.
Yogurt adds a delicious tangy flavor and boosts the moisture content of the cake. It results in a cake with a soft, tender crumb and a higher protein content (especially if using Greek yogurt). It can be used in place of sour cream for a lighter recipe with a similar flavor profile.
Your plums should be ripe but not too soft. Too firm and they won't soften or sweeten enough during baking. If they're squishy, they'll collapse and add too much moisture, making it hard to fully bake the top of the cake. They should give off a sweet, fragrant smell and have some give when gently pressed.
Yes! Defrost the plums in a colander over the sink to drain off any excess liquid. Carefully slice the plums (they will be tender) and pat them with a paper towel prior to adding to the batter. You may need to bake the cake for an additional 5 minutes if there's significant added moisture.
Yogurt Plum CakePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 120 mL (½ cup) olive oil
- 150 grams (¾ cup) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 227 grams (1 cup) unsweetened yogurt (Greek or regular), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 grams (½ teaspoon) kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
- 180 grams (1½ cups) all purpose flour
- 3 large black plums (if smaller, purchase a few extra)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4). Line an 8 inch (20 cm) pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Set aside.
- Cut plums in half and remove pits. Slice each half into four wedges. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add olive oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Whisk thoroughly for at least a minute until fully mixed and a bit lighter in color and consistency.
- Add yogurt and whisk again until no lumps remain.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt. Using a spatula or spoon, gently stir just until flour is incorporated. There will be small lumps in the batter. Don't try to remove them or you'll overmix the batter and it will be too dense.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. See the little lumps in the batter? They're going to disappear - it's OK!
- Place sliced plums onto batter, starting at the outside and working your way in. Don't press the plums into the batter - you want them to stay on top. Sprinkle the exposed batter with a generous amount of coarse Turbinado (raw) sugar.
- Bake cake on middle rack of oven for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177° Celsius, Gas mark 4). The cake is done baking when golden brown and starting to pull away from the edges of the pan.
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