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I love to read magazines and they’re so full of good ideas that I also hate to get rid of them- much to the dismay of Travis and Amanda. I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living a while back and found a recipe for a plum skillet cake that looked uh-mazing. So I saved it- for two years.


I’m partial to anything baked in a skillet- for a couple of reasons. When I was in high school I made a pineapple upside down cake in my mom’s cast iron skillet and I loved it. I don’t remember whether or not anyone else did but I was on quite a pineapple kick for a while. I also love skillet cakes because they aren’t fussy- the ingredients list is small and they’re really hard to mess up. Which is good because after I got all of the ingredients out I decided to measure my skillet and realized that it was 2 inches bigger in diameter than what was called for. Oops.

So I did what any good baker that hates math would do- I doubled the recipe. I mean, I could have (tried to) figure the volume and use the geometry skills that I don’t possess to figure it out but I just wanted to eat plum cake. And what could be better than plum cake times two?

So, I mixed up some yummy things in my Kitchen Aid. Which for this recipe isn’t remotely necessary but it’s already sitting on the counter and I’d have to dig for my hand mixer. I’m also a least resistance sort of gal.


Then I let Chloe and Halle arrange the plums on the batter. I think it looks like a flower.


Then we baked….for a bit longer than suggested because I’d doubled it. Then I had to cover it with aluminum foil because the cake needed a bit more time but the top was getting too brown. Ahem. If I’d been really smart I could have just used a cake pan with the right diameter- but I wanted to use a skillet, dangit!

All’s well that ends well…


Mmmmm. It was so.good. The cake is lightly sweet and the plums are beautifully tart. All of the Buttons loved it and have requested it again. I think I’ll make it the next time we have overnight guests because it goes great with coffee.

I’ll give you the recipe and you can follow Martha’s recipe instead of my shenanigans. It will probably work better that way.

Martha Stewart Living, August 2010

  • Prep Time 15 minutes
  • Total Time 1 hour
  • Yield Serves 4


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for skillet
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for skillet
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 ripe medium plums, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron); dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk.
  2. Pour batter into prepared skillet, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Fan plums on top, and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.