This easy plum streusel coffee cake is the perfect coffee cake to make at the end of summer. When markets are bursting with ripe purple Italian plums. A soft buttery cake is topped with plums and a 3-ingredient streusel, crunchy and full of cinnamon. Great snacking cake that keeps for days.
I feel like I’m such a hypocrite for saying I love plums, yet I always only eat them baked in a dessert or made into a jam. I’ve never been one to really enjoy a bowl of raw plums, although I admit I do like the taste. But ripe plums really excel when cooked or baked. The wonderful fuchsia color, the intense aroma and taste are all superb in a cooked plum. And it’s what makes this easy plum streusel coffee cake so addictive.
A while back I went to the farmer’s market to look for fresh corn. However I came back home with a whole bag stuffed with produce. Which is just so typical. I can’t just buy fresh corn, I have to get the scallions, the tomatoes, the peas, the berries and the plums. And I don’t go to the farmer’s market a lot, so selling to me is so easy.
Ripe plums offer endless possibilities.
There are many varieties of plums out there, more than I know to name. I only ever buy the deep purple blue-ish plums, apparently know as “Italian” or “Empress” or simply “European” plums. They are the kind most often grown and sold here, so they’re just the natural choice for me.
Nothing beats a good coffee cake, I think we can all agree on that, so that’s what I made. I think I have a plum pie recipe somewhere in our family “cookbook” (it’s just a notebook), but I wanted something else,. Something more cakey and more buttery, just softer from a usual pie. I stumbled upon this recipe from Epicurious and saw that it was originally published in 1995 and THAT is what sold the recipe to me! For whatever reason, I just think that if a recipe is old or semi-old it has to be good.
I did make some adjustments though with my plum cake. The Gourmet version has nuts in the streusel, which I’m usually all for, but not this time. I wanted this cake to taste like butter and plums. And I think that walnuts (or pecans) would take away that flavor.
I also use more plums. The original recipe doesn’t specify what variety of plums you need, so maybe that’s the issue, but I just found that the recipe needs more plums to make a really packed plum cake.
This is a simple, easy-to-make snacking cake. The kind you bake on a Sunday, to steal for breakfast the next day. It’s made of three layers.
The first layer is a buttery cake, then comes a layer of juicy plums that are cooked almost into a jam and the last, top layer is a crumbly, cinnamon-packed, melt-in-your-mouth streusel.
Better make this while the plums are in season! Although, if you have an abundance of plums, I recommend that you make a jam or freeze some for later. For freezing plums, wash and dry them first, then remove the stone and freeze the halves. You can use them in jams or baked desserts later on.
Easy plum streusel coffee cake
- one 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan
- 1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup, packed (95 g) light brown sugar, (or light muscovado)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 stick (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup (165 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups (165 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 14 oz (400 g) plums, I use Italian (European) plums
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), with a rack in the center of the oven. Butter the bottom and sides of your pan and line the bottom with greased parchment paper, then dust the insides of the pan with flour. Set aside.
- Make the streusel:Place sugar, cinnamon and butter in a medium bowl. Mash all ingredients together with a fork or your hands until the sugar mixes with the butter. Then add the flour and keep pinching together the ingredients until you get a crumbly mix. Place it in the refrigerator to chill as you make the cake.
- Make the batter:Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy, a few minutes. Crack in the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Stir in vanilla and salt. Then sift in flour and baking powder and whisk just until combined.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Remove stones from plums and slice each plum into 4 wedges. Cover the whole cake with plum slices, one next to the other, until no empty spots are left. Sprinkle with streusel.
- Bake cake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and fragrant (and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. It can have plum residue on it, as those will be juicy, but you don’t want to see the actual beige batter on the cake tester.)
- Cool cake for 30 minutes or more before removing from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Keep covered in the refrigerator and eat within 2-3 days.