This cardamom buckwheat plum cake has tender crumbs scented with cardamom, jammy tart plums, and a crunchy demerara sugar top.
In early June, Aiden and I took a weekend trip to visit our friends in Roseville. They have an amazing garden with many fruit trees-figs, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, and citrus with ducks and chickens running around. We had a great time picking fresh duck and chicken eggs everyday and enjoying the fruits from their trees. It felt like a nice break away from the hustle bustle of city. Before we headed home, they sent us off with the fresh duck eggs and plums. Those beautiful plums went in a plum compote, plum sorbet, plum blackberry cobbler, and this delightful cardamom buckwheat plum cake.
- Plums: use any plums you like but make sure they are ripe but slightly firm so they soften and become jammy during baking. Some of my favorite are Elephant Heart, Santa Rosa, Black Beauty and Greengage. Feel free to swap the plums for any other stone fruits.
- Buckwheat flour: buckwheat flour is made from gluten free seeds and considered an ancient grain. It has a naturally toasty, nutty flavor. I like using Anthony’s organic buckwheat flour which results in lighter color batter compared to other brands.
- Cardamom: is a popular spice used in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Swedish cooking. There are two types of cardamom, black and green. I used green cardamom powder for this recipe. If you’re not familiar with cardamom, the flavor can be overpowering. A little bit of cardamom goes a long way. If you can’t find cardamom, use ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Creme fraiche: is a popular French-style cultured cream. I added it to the whipped cream for a tangy flavor. My favorite brand for creme fraiche is Bellwetherfarms. You can find this brand at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Once in a while when I can’t find creme fraiche at the store, I use this homemade recipe from Splendid Table .
- Olive oil: when it comes to baking, choose a quality fruity olive oil. Arbequina olives are small and distinctly sweet, producing buttery, fruity, and smooth olive oil, most suited for sweet baking. Cakes made with olive oil tend to bake up with a moist and tender texture compared to ones made with butter.
How to Make this Cake
This is one of the easiest cakes you can add to your cake repertoire. It only requires a bowl, a whisk, and a few steps to make. First whisk all the wet ingredients together. Then sift in all the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. If you want the plums not to sink, bake the cake for 15 minutes then top with plums, turbinado sugar, and almonds, then bake for another 30 minutes. Alternatively if you don't care about look, you can slice the plums and incorporate half in the batter and top the cake with the remaining plums before baking. In an hour from prep to baking, you’re rewarded with an amazing cake for the minimal amount of work.
Tips for a Moist Cake
Over-mixing the batter will incorporate too much air resulting in the cake falling and becoming dense. Don’t overbake or the texture will be dry. Place the cake on the middle rack so the heat is distributed evenly between the top and bottom. Check for doneness 5-8 minutes before the required baking time because not all ovens act the same. The best method for testing a cake’s doneness is with a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is done.
What to Serve Cake With
All you need is a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Whipped cream or creme fraiche complements this cake perfectly depending on your preference for sweet versus tang. The plum cake tastes like heaven still warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream.
This cardamom buckwheat plum cake was a delightful treat. I couldn't help slicing into it still warm from the oven. It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart with incredibly moist and tender crumbs and wonderful crunchy demerara and flaked almond top. Make this cake while plums are in season from summer until early fall.
Cardamom Buckwheat Plum Cake
- 1 9-inch cake pan
- 4 medium plums, halved and pitted
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup creme fraiche
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup buckwheat flour
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond flakes
- confectioners' sugar for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment. Brush the bottom and sides with olive oil.
- Place sugar, olive oil, eggs, creme fraiche, and lemon zest in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Place a fine mesh sieve directly over the bowl, and sift in dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt).
- Whisk in dry ingredients until well combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Place the cake pan in the oven and baked for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Top the batter with plum halves. Do not press down.
- Sprinkle demerara sugar over the top and almond flakes at the edges.
- Return the cake to the oven and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan.
- When ready to serve, transfer the cake to a serving plate. Garnish with a generous sprinkle of confectioners' sugar before slicing.