spiced streusel plum cake

this spiced streusel plum cake is made from a lightly spiced vanilla cake, topped with slices of fresh late summer plums. add the spiced walnut streusel for extra texture and flavor for a cake that demands to be enjoyed over a warm cup of coffee.

as I have written about in previous posts, this is one of my favorite times of year. this time of year when summer fruits meet autumn baking. it’s like a little acknowledgment of what’s to come. this spiced streusel plum cake combines a touch of autumn scents and textures with beautifully ripe late summer fruit. (side note, plums are amazing right now, so grab some asap!).

this spiced streusel plum cake is made from a lightly spiced vanilla cake, with notes of, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom, topped with layers of tart plums and crunchy spiced walnut streusel. with layers of beautifully balanced flavors and contrasting textures, this cake is simple, unfussy and pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee.

spiced streusel plum cake

in a few words, this plum cake is

  • buttery
  • sweet
  • spiced
  • with contrasting bites of tart fruit
  • cozy
  • easy to adapt
  • perfect as cake for breakfast or as simple dessert after dinner

what ingredients do I need to make this cake?

to make this spiced streusel plum cake you will need pantry basics, plus:

  • all purpose flour
  • cake flour
    • see recipe notes for a DIY version
  • light brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cardamom or ground ginger
  • unsalted butter
  • walnuts
  • baking soda and baking powder
  • salt
  • sugar
  • lemon zest
  • canola or olive oil
  • eggs
  • vanilla extract
  • buttermilk
    • see recipe notes for a DIY version
  • plums
  • powdered sugar
spiced streusel plum cake

what baking tools do I need to make this spiced cake?

to make this buttery spiced cake, you will need:

  • stand mixer with paddle attachment
    • or hand mixer with beaters and several mixing bowls
  • 9″ (23cm) springfrom pan
    • this is the preferred pan for this cake as it makes removing the cake from the pan much easier
    • use a 9X9 pan lined with parchment paper along at least two sides instead
  • parchment paper
    • this helps to line the pan
    • alternatively, it helps to lift the cake from the pan if using a square pan
spiced streusel plum cake

tips and tricks for a perfectly delicious spiced streusel plum cake

best substitutions for this recipe:

  • all purpose flour: for a gluten free option, I recommend
  • cake flour: make a DIY version using all purpose and cornstarch 
    • see recipe notes for how to do this 
    • to make a GF cake flour, sub with one of the listed subs above 
      • follow the notes in the recipe to make it cake flour 
  • plums: we are currently in prime fruit season
    • substitute with : any stone fruit or berries
    • use fresh when possible
    • if using frozen, leave the fruit frozen and bake for additional time as needed (up to 10-20 minutes)
  • lemon zest, ground cinnamon and cardamom: these are all flavor enhancers 
    • I highly recommend using all if you can
    • if not, you can easily use all cinnamon or ginger
    • use a pre-made pumpkin spice or chai spice  
  • sugar: you can use an alternative sugar if its one you baked with already 
  • buttermilk try to use what a store bought version, but if needed
    • find the DIY version in the recipe notes

tips and tricks for this spiced streusel plum cake:

  • read through the recipe before starting
  • use a “light hand” when folding the ingredients together 
  • look for the signs the cake is done rather than stick strictly to the baking times 
    • the sides will pull gently from the edges of the pan
    • if it looks wet, the cake will need about 10-20 minutes from that point 
    • the top will be golden brown, but not burned 
    • toothpick inserted into the center will come out with a few moist crumbs 
    • if its “gummy” with a few crumbs, it needs 5-10 more minutes 
  • cool in the pan on a cooling rack for no more than 30 minutes 
  • cool to room temperature on a cooling rack 
  • dust with powdered sugar
spiced streusel plum cake

to streusel or not to streusel?

that is the question… is it really though?

this is totally up to you! no, really! I personally think the streusel bring a certain coziness to the cake that is absolute perfection. however, if you want to skip the buttery, crumble topping, I would:

  • find the prettiest plums you can (the deep, ruby red ones are my favorite)
  • slice them a little thicker
    • aim to get 4-6 slices per plum
  • lightly press them into the top of the cake batter
  • sprinkle a nice layer of granulated or demerara sugar
  • bake as noted in the recipe
    • checking for doneness at the 40 minute mark
spiced streusel plum cake
spiced streusel plum cake

more delicious cakes to try!

love this spiced streusel plum cake? time to give these recipes a bake!

spiced streusel plum cake

spiced streusel plum cake

this spiced streusel plum cake is made from a lightly spiced vanilla cake, topped with slices of fresh late summer plums. add the spiced walnut streusel and a dusting of powdered sugar. its a cake that demands to be enjoyed over a warm cup of coffee.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Cooling 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 9" (23cm) springform pan
  • parchment paper
  • stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric hand mixer with beaters


spiced walnut streusel

  • 1 c (120g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/2 c (60g) chopped walnuts sub nut of choice (pecan and pistachio would be delicious)

spiced vanilla cake

  • 1 c (120g) all purpose flour
  • 1 c (120g) cake flour see notes
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (1-2 medium lemons)
  • 1/4 c (59ml) canola oil sub olive oil
  • 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 (114g) large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c (118ml) buttermilk see notes
  • 6-8 plums of choice, sliced
  • powdered sugar, for topping


spiced walnut streusel

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients for the streusel topping in a small mixing bowl.
    Work in the cubes of butter until the mixture comes together. The mixture should resemble coarse pieces of sand, with some larger pieces mixed in. Set the bowl in the fridge to chill while preparing the loaf cake.

spiced plum cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Line a 9" (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper, along the bottom. Lightly grease the sides of the pan. Set aside.
    If making your own buttermilk, add 2 tsp lemon juice to the 1/2 c room temperature whole milk now. It needs about 10 minutes to curdle.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cardamom, ground cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • Zest the lemon into a small bowl filled with sugar. Rub the sugar and zest together until a wet sand like texture forms.
  • Using a whisk (by hand) or electric mixer with beaters or paddle attachment, beat together the oil and butter together until smooth and well combined.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly stream in the lemon sugar into the oil butter mixture untill all the sugar is added. Increase the speed to mediumm, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla extract, beating each one for about 20 seconds on medium speed before adding the next.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the wet, alternating in this order: dry, buttermilk, dry, buttermilk, dry. Leave a few flour or milk streaks before adding the next .
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top of the batter. Top with sliced plums.
    spiced streusel plum cake
  • Top the batter with the chilled streusel topping. Feel free to clump pieces together for larger crumbles or scatter smaller pieces over the top of the batter.
    Gently press the struesel into the cake batter and plums.
    spiced streusel plum cake
  • Bake at 350 F (177C) for 50-60 minutes. Around 45 minutes, do the first check of the cake. Check to make sure the struesel isn't burning. If the top is browning too much, place a tent foil over the top for the remainder of the time. 
    Bake an additional 5 minutes before checking for doneness. The edges of the cake will have pulled slighly from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If the toothpick comes out wet or "gummy," check every 5-10 until done.
  • Remove the plum cake from the oven to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.
  • Cool the cake an additional 30-45 minutes on the cooling rack if desired. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar, slice and enjoy!


cake flour: to make your own DIY cake flour, measure out 1 c all purpose flour. scoop out 2 tbsp flour. add back in 2 tbsp cornstarch. sift together 3-4 times. 
buttermilk: to make your own DIY buttermilk, measure out 1/2 c milk. add in 2 tsp lemon juice. mix together. let sit for 10 minutes to curdle.
ground cardamom: this spice is so lovely when paired with plums. if you don’t like cardamom or simply don’t have any on hand, feel free to use ground ginger or extra ground cinnamon. if using either of these as a substitute for the cardamom, use double the amount of cardamom ( 1/2 tsp | 1 tsp instead of 1/4 tsp | 1/2 tsp). 
Keyword plum cake, spiced plum cake, spiced streusel cake, summer cake
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