This easy yogurt plum cake recipe is a simple bake that celebrates these lovely stone fruit. With a light lemon scented sponge topped with fresh plums, this beautiful cake can be enjoy for brunch, afternoon tea, and dessert.
This recipe was inspired by a light Italian breakfast cake we enjoyed in Rome. It is moist and light, and sweet but not too sweet. With the slightly sharp cooked plums on the top it is enjoyed by those who don’t have a super sweet tooth (as well as those that do!). It is a great cake for afternoon tea, but because of it’s texture it is also special enjoyed with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or if you can’t quite bring yourself to have cake for breakfast like the Italians, serve it for brunch!
Why we love this recipe
- Making a plum cake with oil and yogurt produces a lovely light and spongy – and it stays moist and soft for a couple of days after it is made.
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make this simple cake – and it is a one bowl recipe.
- Delicious recipe for plums, and a great way of using up slightly under ripe plums.
- It is also a very useful recipe for when you have a lot of yogurt that needs using up. (You can also make this passionfruit cheesecake or Turkish yogurt sauce with yogurt!)
- It is great for bake sales and picnics as it looks pretty without the need for icing, and the cake transports well.
Ingredients notes and substitutions
- Fresh plums – most varieties of plum will work in this yogurt cake. Small, Italian prune plums are popular for making cakes, but I have also made this yogurt cake with the basic black plums and red plums commonly available in the supermarket, and all work well. If using larger plums you just need to cut them into sixths or eights rather than quarters. You can use damson plums, but note these tend to be more sour.
- Yogurt – I recommend using full fat plain Greek yogurt. Use unsweetened yogurt rather than sweetened yogurt otherwise the cake can be too sweet.
- Oil – use a neutral oil such as sunflower oil. I also love making the cake with olive oil for a hint of peppery flavour.
- White sugar – granulated sugar.
- Plain flour – all purpose flour.
- Vanilla essence – or bean paste.
- Lemon zest – lemon zest adds a fresh and light background flavour to the sponge cake, and I love the combination of lemon and vanilla!
How to make this cake
- Line a round springform cake tin with baking paper.
- Wash, dry and slice the plums. If they are small, half or quarter them. If they are large, cut into 6 or 8 pieces.
- Whisk the eggs with a fork of ballon whisk until fluffy.
- Add the Greek yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon zest and vanilla essence and beat until combined.
- Sift in flour and baking powder and mix until combined – don’t worry if there are some lumps, this is fine.
- Pour the batter in to the prepared tin and top with the sliced plums, then place in the oven and cook until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Adding Greek yogurt to cake batter makes it wonderful and moist, and also adds extra flavour.
With a small sharp knife, cut the plum along the seam (the line which runs from the stalk down the plum) and then twist the two halves gently in opposite directions with your hands to open. Take the plum half with the pit still in it and carefully cut around it or pull gently with your fingers. If it is a clingstone variety of plum the pit may be more difficult to part from the flesh than if it is a freestone variety of plum.
Plums should be ripe but firm to the touch. If the plum feels mushy it is too ripe to use in baking a cake – but would be great in a plum crumble!
My Recipe Tips
- Use slightly under-ripe plums – if you use plums that are too ripe they will lose their shape on cooking and can result in a soggy top to your yogurt cake.
- When buying plums, look for firm plums without wrinkled skin.
- For a pretty effect, use a mixture of yellow and red fleshed plums. (In these photos I used an Australian variety of red fleshed plum called Queen Garnet plum, but there are other red fleshed plums available.)
- Avoid using fat-free or non fat Greek yogurt as the stabilizers added to it can change the texture of the cake, make the cake drier (there is less fat in the yogurt therefore less fat to keep the cake moist), as well as missing out on taste that full fat yogurt adds to a cake!
- Don’t worry if the batter is lumpy after the flour is added. Beat a little with a spoon but not too much – it is better to have lumpy batter than over beat it.
- This plum yogurt cake is delicious as it is, with a cup or coffee of tea, but if you want to serve it as a dessert, try with an extra dollop of Greek yogurt on the side, and a drizzle of honey for added sweetness. Or serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, cream or custard, and a sprinkle of toasted flaked almonds for crunch.
Keep the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze the cake – cool completely, wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.
- Flavourings – use orange zest instead of lemon zest. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon and ground ginger for a warming Autumnal cake when using the last of the seasonal plums.
- Plum loaf cake – you can make this cake in a loaf tin: use a 21 x 11 x 7 cm (8 x 4 x 3 inch) loaf tin and baking for 55 – 60 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
More easy cake recipe for you
Yogurt Plum Cake
- 240g (8.5oz) plums weight with stones, approx 3 large plums.
- 3 eggs large
- 250g (1 c ) plain Greek yogurt
- 170g (¾ c) white sugar granulated sugar
- 120ml (½ c) neutral oil or mild olive oil
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or vanilla bean paste
- 225g (1¾ c ) plain flour all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C fan / 200˚C / 356˚F convection / 392˚F.
- Line the base of a 20 cm / 8 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.
- Wash and dry the plums, remove the pit, then slice in to halves, quarters or eights, depending on their size.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs with a balloon whisk or fork until fluffy.
- Add the yogurt, sugar, oil, lemon zest and vanilla and beat until well combined.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix with a spoon until the flour is mixed in. (There will probably be some lumps in the batter, but this is ok.)
- Pour the batter in to the prepared tin, then place the sliced plums on the top.
- Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake as the top can start to go brown in some ovens. If this happens, carefully place a piece of foil over the top and continue to cook.
- Leave in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
- Store in an airtight container.