Plum Streusel Coffee Cake

Plums in Early Morning

Plums in Early Morning

By Cat, Aug 25, 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: 1. Plum Upside-Down Cake; 2. Cakes and Tortes menu;

My plum tree is still a baby and only produces about 5 tiny plums a year, but I’m collecting plum recipes for when it grows up. In the meantime, a friend gives me plums I can use.

Plums are sweet and rich with nutrients. Some plums have green flesh when they are raw, but turn a wonderful purple when cooked. My plum is Italian prune, so has a pinkish flesh that darkens when heated. Any type of plum will work in this tart, or you could use nectarines or peaches, or a mix of these.

Plum Streusel Coffee Cake

This recipe is adapted from Fine (2). I prefer to make the cake using a presoak method, but I provide modification of ingredients and method without a presoak.

The streusel topping is made with brown sugar (though I would use Rapadura or other unrefined sugar plus a bit of molasses) and flavored with cardamom. This spice is well known to me, as my Danish ancestors use cardamom for many things: a type of cured luncheon meat (2) served  as open-face sandwiches (Rullepøise as smørrebrød in Danish), hot cross buns for Easter (fastelavnsboller, in Danish), and Christmas bread (Julekage in Danish). So I know this will be delicious.



  • 1 cup (8 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces, plus a bit of softened butter for pan
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour (for presoak)
  • ½ – ¾ cup unbleached white flour, plus more for the pan (or you could use 1 ½ cups white flour if not doing a presoak)
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • ¾ cup Rapadura sugar plus 1 tsp molasses (or ½ cup white and ¼ cup packed brown sugar)
  • ¼ cup buttermilk (or fresh whole milk if not doing a presoak)
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder plus ½ tsp baking soda (or 1 ½ tsp baking powder if not doing a presoak)
  • ½ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 firm, ripe plums (or more if they are small), pitted and quartered (or halved, if small)


  • ½ cup unbleached white flour (wheat or spelt)
  • ¼ cup Rapadura sugar plus 1 Tbsp molasses (or ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar)
  • ⅛ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • pinch (about 1/16 tsp) ground cardamom*
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (plus more as needed)


  • 8″ square cake pan
  • small and large mixing bowls
  • 2 medium mixing bowls
  • oiled parchment (for presoak method only)
  • egg whisk or hand-held mixer
  • wooden spoon

Method for Cake using presoak method

  1. Measure whole wheat pastry flour and sugar into large mixing bowl. Cut the chilled butter pieces into the flour, then stir in buttermilk and molasses (if using) to make a smooth batter.
  2. Press oiled parchment against the surface of the battery in the bowl, cover with a towel, and let rest in a cool spot of your kitchen overnight.

Next day:

  1. Prepare streusel and refrigerate (see below).
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and lightly flour baking pan.
  3. Sift together the white flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom into medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Prepare streusel (see below) and set aside.
  5. Wash and quarter plums, removing the pit, and set aside.
  6. Lightly beat eggs with vanilla in small mixing bowl, then stir into the presoak mixture; fold in the sifted ingredients.
  7. Follow Assemble and Bake instructions, below)

Method for Cake using regular method

  1. Prepare streusel and refrigerate (see below).
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and lightly flour baking pan.
  3. Sift together the white flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom and set aside.
  4. Prepare streusel (see below) and set aside.
  5. Wash and quarter plums, removing the pit, and set aside.
  6. Beat eggs lightly in small mixing bowl. Add sugar(s) and molasses (if using), milk and vanilla and mix until well blended. Set aside.
  7. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom into large mixing bowl. Add chilled butter in pieces, then cut into the flour until mixture resembles very coarse meal ( with bits of butter the size of small peas).
  8. Add egg mixture; fold and stir together until the batter is thick and speckled with lumps of butter, about 1 minute.

Method for Streusel

  1. Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and cardamom into small mixing bowl. Add molasses (if using), then drizzle with melted butter.
  2. Stir with fork to a clumpy dough. If dough is sandy and won’t clump, add more melted butter, 1 tsp at a time.
  3. Refrigerate mixture while preparing the batter.

Method to Assemble and Bake

  1. Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread batter evenly.
  2. Break up chilled streusel mixture with fingers, sprinkling half evenly over batter.
  3. Arrange plum quarters, skin-side down, on batter. If desired, arrange each piece at a 45 angle to sides of pan.
  4. Sprinkle remaining streusel evenly over all.
  5. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, then rotate the pan. continue to bake until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 15 – 20 minutes more.
  6. Remove pan to a rack to cool at least 1 hour before cutting.
  7. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.


  1. Fine Cooking tart recipe (
  2. Blazing Hot Wok rullepøise recipe (

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