green plum upside down cake

Let’s see…all this (as in my quest to find the perfect plums) started because a coworker gave me a small container of very sweet green plums. Which I was immediately drawn to, because usually one equates green fruits as being unripe or sour. Although these looked like they would be sour, they were not. In fact, they were completely ripe, judging from the softness, and very sweet. So I went online and found out that there are in fact very sweet, yellowish green or chartreuse colored plums, called Greengage.

And although she did offer to bring in more next week, (because she says her neighbor has a tree with these plums), I was already on a quest to find some in Seattle this weekend so I could blog about it, because that’s how I roll.

First stop was Puget Consumer’s Co-op in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Close, but no cigar. They did have some nice chartreuse colored figs that I almost bought. Still might buy those later.

Next stop was Whole Foods (we jokingly call it Whole Paycheck!). Although they did have some nice kiwi berries from Utah, which I might post about, if they still have them in the next week or so, the only plum-like things they had were the usual type of pluots and apricots, which were really nice, but again, no cigar.

Third stop was the University District Farmers Market. This one vendor had a variety of Gage plums, but none that had that beautiful chartreuse color.

Finally another vendor had what he was calling ‘Italian Green Plums’. Since they looked like Greengage plums, I immediately bought two bags. Didn’t even taste from the sample bag.

And they are not very sweet. In fact they are slightly sour. I think they might be Sour Green Plums, which are usually eaten raw with a little salt, or in preserves, and in Middle Eastern and Asian recipes, but these are possibly either a variety of them that is more mild, or perhaps these were just more mature, which lessens their sourness.

So that’s my adventure on searching for the perfect Greengage plum. Kiss today goodbye. No regrets.

I’ll probably still be able to get some from the neighbor of my coworker. But I’m done for now trying to find a place in Seattle that sells them. I learned through an online garage sale that a woman in Ellensburg was selling some Greengages, but the online garage sale group rejected my registration to be part of the group, (probably because I don’t live in Ellensburg, LOL), so I can’t contact her to buy her fruit. But I was willing to drive all the way to Ellensburg just to be able to buy some from her. Oh well. Maybe her Greengages are sour! LOL

I based this recipe from two different recipes, one from Cooking with Manali, and the other from Meilleur Du Chef. I actually think the recipe is just right for these particular plums that are on the sour side, and that normal plums might make this too sweet.

I used olive oil for the cake, which lends a nice color to the cake, and also adds moisture, so if you like your cake cold, you can put it in the fridge, and it won’t seem as dry as a cake with only butter in it tends to dry out in the fridge. Enjoy!

Green Plum Upside Down Cake


for the topping:

2 ounces unsalted butter

1/4 cup  sugar

1 and 1/2 cups of plums, sliced in half and seeds removed

for the cake:

1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup buttermilk (can use full-fat buttermilk or yogurt)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup of liquid from prepared topping


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut a parchment paper circle to line a slightly greased bottom of a 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Make the topping first. On a large nonstick frying pan, add the butter, sugar and plums. Heat on medium high heat until plums are softer and the butter and sugar creates a liquid with the juice from the plums. Do not overcook. Just maybe about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar into it and stir with a whisk to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

In a larger bowl, add all the wet ingredients–olive oil, buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the liquid from the plum mixture in the frying pan. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and whisk slightly, being careful not to overmix. You don’t want to overmix, but you do want to get rid of large clumps of dry flour.

Arrange the cooled plums from the frying pan (reserve the liquid in the pan for later), cut side up, on the parchment paper circle at the bottom of the prepared springform pan. When done, this will be the top of the cake, so arrange however you want it to look. Some people like cut side up, in which case, you will want to arrange each slices side touching the paper.

Pour the batter carefully over the plums in the pan and level with a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Tap on the counter to get rid of any pockets of air in the batter.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully flip onto desired serving platter. Reheat the frying pan with the liquid to reduce it further to a thicker syrup. After it has cooled somewhat, remove the springform ring and bottom and brush what is now the top of the cake with some of the syrupy plum/sugar/butter liquid in the frying pan, if desired. Serve warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. If serving cold, refrigerate in a closed container.



10 responses to “green plum upside down cake”

  1. olivesandfeta Avatar

    Love upside down cakes. Your plum version is gorgeous!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. davegon Avatar

      Why thanks. I think it was the right choice to base it off of a pineapple upside down cake, because there is a similar tartness with these plums to pineapple. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. olivesandfeta Avatar

        Agreed. Love it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. mistimaan Avatar

    Very yummy recipe… to taste it 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. davegon Avatar

      It is a good simple cake, has a good sweet/sour balance, moist, not too dense. Goes with tea or coffee. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. chefkreso Avatar

    I never used green plums in a dessert, but if I do this will be the recipe I use them in 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. davegon Avatar

      Yes! I should have tasted them before buying them, because I got the sour variety, but it still worked out, I think. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dina Avatar

    Aaaaaah, I love your food photography, Dave. Have you by any chance made a tutorial? All your blog post look outstandingly good. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. davegon Avatar

      Aw shucks. I’m still learning. Yours are truly amazing! But thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

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