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Plum Upside-Down Cake with Brown Butter & Orange

Cast iron isn’t used exclusively for savory dishes. It’s the perfect cookware for creating stunning, rustic desserts as well. There’s no better way to caramelize fruit, like for this Plum Upside-Down Cake, flavored with brown butter and orange.

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Test Kitchen Tip

Though we made this cake with red plums in the Test Kitchen, there’s no reason you can’t use black plums instead.


Melt 2 sticks butter in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, swirling pan, until brown specks appear, 5–8 minutes. Transfer brown butter to a bowl and cool until nearly solidified.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine ¾ cup brown sugar, 4 Tbsp. butter, and ½ tsp. cinnamon in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring until melted. Off heat, arrange plums in concentric circles over sugar mixture.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and remaining ½ tsp. cinnamon in a bowl.

Beat browned butter, remaining 1 cup brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, 3–4 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in zest and orange juice. With mixer on low speed gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating just to combine.

Spoon batter over plums, spreading gently to cover skillet. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Let cake sit 15 minutes, then invert onto a platter to cool completely before serving.


Cooking the butter gently allows the water to evaporate and the milk solids to slowly brown.


For a pretty, decorative top, carefully arrange plum wedges in skillet in concentric circles.


To keep from disturbing the pretty design you’ve made in the bottom of the skillet, very carefully spread the cake batter over the plum wedges.

Nutritional Facts

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