Sugarplum Buttermilk Cake

by | Jan 5, 2012 | 29 comments

Sugarplum Buttermilk Cake
One of the best things about our Thursday Farmer's Market are the sugar plums. They are small, perfectly shape, tart and blood red. I am always amazed at their beautiful texture. Crunchy and juicy, as if it was even possible otherwise. Sadly, I can't stand eating them unless they happen to be very sweet. I have an extremely low sour threshold. Which means, all the more for Nick who adores them.
Sugarplum Buttermilk Cake
But I can have them in a dessert, where their tartness is masked by all the sugar in the dessert itself. Leafing through Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day, I pause at a recipe simple called Buttermilk Cake. I spot tiny delicate slices of plums on the cake in the picture accompanying the recipe. I have buttermilk. I have sugar plums. I need to make this cake. So I do.
Buttermilk Cake With Plums And Custard
Things that make my baking experience a tiny bit more delightful than most days
1. The cake is baked in a quiche pan. I don't know why, but it makes me giddy with happiness.
2. I mix it by hand even though I have my Bee sitting on the counter. (There is an unspoken joy in going for a walk, while a very expensive car sits in your garage.)
3. Slicing slivers of fresh plum crescents from their pit is a new and very pleasing experience. (I am glad all the plums are firm and not over ripe.)
Slice Of Sugarplum Cake
Food Styling And Prop Alert - Red stripe knife & fork ($4.95 each from David Jones). White quiche dish ($5 from Kmart). White scallop plate - ($2 from Target). Vintage floral plate - ($1 from Thrift Store). Custard jug with stripes - ($7.95 by Ivory House). Vintage French linen - (From Grosgrain Homewares).
Juicy plum and cake slice.
Sugarplum Buttermilk Cake Recipe




Preparation Time - 20 minutes
Baking Time - 25 minutes
Serves - 12


2 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
grated zest of 1 very large lemon
8 sugar plums, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons large-grain raw sugar


Preheat oven to 205C (400F). Butter and flour an 11-inch (28cm) quiche dish or tart pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, which together the eggs, melted butter, lemon zest  and buttermilk. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and stir until just combined.
Spoon batter into prepared pan, flattening the batter and pushing it out towards the edges. Arrange plums in a circular fashion or just scatter them on top of the batter. Sprinkle the top evenly with the raw sugar.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the cake is golden and cooked through. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Serve warm with custard or by itself with a sprinkling of icing sugar.


Use ripe but firm plums. Use a sharp paring knife to slice lobes as close to the pit as you can. Each small plum should give you 8 small slices.
This cake is not very sweet. I served this with store bought custard. You could also serve it with sweetened whipped cream or maple syrup or even ice cream.
Heidi suggests using seasonal fruit or doing a winter version by swapping the plums for 12 pitted and chopped dates and 1 cup toasted walnuts.



January 2012 Spotlight - Heidi Swanson

Every month on Cook Republic a food hero will be featured. It could be a celebrity chef, food blogger, cookbook author, a cuisine, an ingredient or a trend. In January 2012 the spotlight is on food blogger and writer Heidi Swanson of the 101 Cookbooks fame. With one of the oldest and most original voices in the ever burgeoning world of food blogs and photography, Heidi is a much celebrated cookbook author. Join me as I explore Heidi's food philosophy to the fullest and cook from her most recent offering, Super Natural Every Day which is published by Hardie Grant in Australia.


Find More Recipes By CategoryBaking Cake Fruit Whole Food



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. sara

    Love this cake - so pretty! Love the pop of the plum color - looks delicious.

  2. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    Gorgeous photos of a beautiful looking cake. Would love a slice 🙂

  3. tinytearoom

    this cake looks so moist and comforting. I couldn't get enough of last seasons plums. I hope this seasons lives up to it. This would be perfect with a cup of english breakfast tea.

  4. penny aka jeroxie

    oh YUm! Should not be reading this while I am craving dessert. 😐

  5. kankana

    There was a huge plum tree in our backyard and as a kid, I and my bro use to always climb the tree and pluck plums. This post brought some memories back 🙂
    The cake looks gorgeous Sneh .. beautifully styled .. and strips on the fork and knife .. SO CUTE !

  6. Deeps @ Naughty Curry

    omg, drooling here! at first glance i thought its a pie. those bits of plums peeking out of the cake look so pretty 🙂

  7. Anita Menon

    Love the photographs Sneh. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing information regarding all the fascinating props you use.

    A cake looks so tempting

  8. Dina

    that looks yummy! it makes me want to have afternoon tea right now.

  9. Magda's Cauldron

    Oh it looks delicious and reminds me autumn, I baked a few cakes with buttermilk and plums. They are always delicious.

  10. ilva

    I love your styling here, really nice!

  11. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    What a gorgeous cake Sneh!!!! And the photography too, so beautiful! I love how you've baked the cake in a quiche dish (it looks like I have the same one). The fluted edges just make it all the more pretty.

    • Sneh

      it is, isn't it? I might get addicted to baking cakes in quiche pans.

  12. Nic@diningwithastud

    I've never eaten sugarplums before 🙂 haha Sugarplum is actually what I call Stud - too funny

    • Sneh

      ha ha Nic! too funny! you are right!

  13. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I've done an apple cake that's very similar to this but I love the contrast of the sugarplum against the cake! Such a beauty!

  14. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    What a beautiful cake! It reminds me of the ones my grandmother used to make when we would go to visit.

  15. Yummy Morsel

    Beautiful! Love the color!

  16. Kocinera

    What a beautiful cake! That is such a cute, whimsical idea to bake it in a quiche pan. Not to mention that it sounds absolutely delicious!

  17. Simply Tia

    Oh my, my heart almost stop beating! This cake is super gorgeous! Have to try this recipe soon!

  18. anh


    I love Heidi's recipes, sites and books. And this recipe is so good right now, when plums are in season.

  19. Phuoc'n Delicious

    Stunning photography Sneh! I'm the same with you, I love plums but can't take sourness. This cake sounds and looks amazing. Definitely bookmarking it to make son 🙂 Thanks

  20. Farwin

    Everything about this post is wonderful,Sneh.Love the props and craving for some cake right now.Wish I had some fresh sugarplums which are hard to find in this part of the globe.

  21. Le Man and Wife

    This looks absolutely divine. Thanks so much for sharing the prop alert--super helpful for someone working on their photos! 🙂 Always loving your blog, thanks for sharing!

    • Sneh

      you are very welcome!

  22. a spoonful of yumm

    yum yum ! love the images and the striped knife & fork 😉 hope the new year is going great for you

  23. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen

    Lovely post Sneh. This cake is too good to not make. I can't wait to get some plum to make it!

  24. Sukaina

    There is nothing I don't love about thi post- your description of sugar plums (whihc I've never tasted or seen before), the fact that you baked them in a quiche pan, the lovely props.....the texture of the cake. I could go on. Beautiful!

  25. Amycakes

    This looks scrumptious!!! I LOVE fresh stone fruit in baked goods. You can really taste their freshness (if that makes any sense) much more than apples or pears in winter.

    Your styling is so incredibly lovely too. : ) I love that you've linked where the pieces are from. I will definitely check out some of those. I adore the stripes!

  26. Meeta

    Simply gorgeous Sneh! Love plums in a buttermilk dough. The images are lovely too!


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