Plum Recipe Throwdown: Red or Purple? You Choose for Plum Tatin Cake


Ina Garten's Plum Tatin Cake with Purple Plums


Ina Garten's Plum Tatin Cake with Red Plums

I love plums in early fall! I was craving plum desserts, so I decided to try Martha Stewart’s skillet plum cake. This turned out to be a 100 per cent, total disaster. The plums sank into the cake instead of floating on top like it showed in Martha’s picture, and the cake texture was tough and coarse like cornbread. Martha, if you’re reading this blog – and I hope that you are – take this recipe out of your repertoire! It is unworthy of you!

Undaunted, I hunted for another plum cake to try. A few weeks ago I was watching Ina Garten make her plum tatin cake. It looked so amazing, and I love Ina’s simple elegance. And, I have always loved the rich comforting taste of the slow-braised apples in a classic Tarte Tatin. Why not plums? BUT. Which plums to chose? I tried both red and purple, and the clear winner in Donna’s Test Kitchen weekly Sunday taste testing was: purple! They give the cake a richer taste and are prettier that the red plums.

This cake was a huge hit! It is easy, flavorful and so beautiful on a serving platter. You MUST try this for a fabulous ending to a fall feast!

Happy Monday to all you Meatless Monday fans!


Red Plums (left) or purple plums (right) - You choose!


Plums arranged in pie pans before baking


7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
10 large purple plums
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/3 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Use 1 tablespoon of butter to generously butter a 9 inch pie pan. Cut plums in quarters and arrange in spiral pattern on top of buttered pie pan.

Bring 1 cup sugar and water to a boil over high heat and boil until amber brown, or until 350 degrees by a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but DO NOT stir while boiling. Pour the mixture over plums in pan.

Cream the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a mixer until fluffy and light yellow. Add in eggs one at a time until well mixed. Add sour cream, zest and vanilla until well mixed.

Add in dry ingredients slowly until well mixed.

Pour batter over plums and smooth top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until light brown and set in center.

Cook for 15 minutes, then invert onto a serving platter.

Best served immediately while warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Other plum-aliciousness:
Gluten Free Plum and Blueberry Tart, Healthy Green Kitchen
Plum Focaccia, Rosa’s Yummy Yums
Plum Tart with Streusel Topping, One Perfect Bite
Plum Crumble, In Good Taste
Plum and Almond Crumble, Junglefrog Cooking
Plum Buckle, One Perfect Bite
Fresh Plum Sauce, Diet Dessert and Dogs
Plum Granita, Spicie Foodie
Plum and Cherry Compote, Nami Nami
Rustic Plum Gallette, Nourishing Gourmet

— posted by Donna


  1. says

    I love Ina – I think since she and I share the same birthday we are soulmates. Anyway – I love the look of the purple plums, but I can’t decide if it is just because of the shape. But the color is amazing. I’d go with purple. Lucky house you have to have two plum cake tatins just sitting around. :)

  2. says

    Both versions look beautiful! Great idea. I have to admit, I’ve never had much success w/ Martha’s baking recipes (though the savory ones have all worked out well!).

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