Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

This Plum Walnut Skillet Cake is almost as easy at it is gorgeous. Batter takes minutes to make in the food processor. Use any variety of plums you like.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • Butter (for the pan)
  • 5 to 6 firm plums (about 1 pound)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts halves
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw
  • 2 tablespoons honey (optional)

Special equipment:


1 Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a 10-inch ovenproof skillet with a heatproof handle or a 9-inch cake pan. Halve, pit, and thinly slice the plums.

Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

2 Grind the walnuts: In a food processor or a nut mill, very finely chop the walnuts. Transfer to a bowl.

Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

3 Make the batter: Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of the food processor and process until creamy, 30 to 60 seconds.

Add the eggs one at a time, and process after each addition, until fluffy. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, flour, baking powder and salt, and pulse just until the batter is smooth.

Finally, add the ground walnuts and pulse to mix them into the batter. The batter will be thick.

Plum Walnut Skillet Cake Plum Walnut Skillet Cake Plum Walnut Skillet Cake Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

4 Assemble the cake: Scrape the batter into the skillet and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Lay slices of plums in a ring around the outside edge of the pan, overlapping the slices slightly. Arrange a second ring of slices inside the first, and then fill in the very middle of the cake with the remaining slices. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Plum Walnut Skillet Cake Plum Walnut Skillet Cake Plum Walnut Skillet Cake

5 Bake the cake: Begin checking the cake around 35 minutes, and continue baking (checking every 5 to 10  minutes) until the top is browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Total cooking time is typically 40 to 50 minutes.

Set the skillet on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

6 Brush with honey (optional): The cake is sweet enough as it is, but if you want to add a little shine for an even more beautiful presentation, heat the honey in the microwave for 10 seconds and brush the cake with it.

7 Serve the cake straight from the skillet.

Click on the comments you'd like to print with your recipe. Grayed out comments will not print.


  • Eva

    Baked it last night, was so good!!!! Didn’t have a food processor but used a hand mixer and still turned out beautifully. Thank you for giving us this wonderful recipe!

    • Sally

      Good going, Eva! So glad you liked it!

  • Freena

    I just moved and I only have a bundt cake tray. If I make this as an upside down bundt cake, do you think it would work, or do I need to make modifications?


    • Sally Pasley Vargas

      Hi Freena! That’s a hard question! I’ve never tried it, but my guess is you could make it in a bundt pan with some changes. I think I might put the batter in first and the plums, quartered rather than sliced, on top of the batter. They’ll either be on the bottom when you turn out the cake or will sink and be somewhere in the middle. It will taste just as good! The batter will probably only fill the pan about half-way, but even so, check with a toothpick–the baking time might need an additional 10 minutes or so to ensure the batter is cooked through. When you’ve turned out the cake on a plate, sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar on top. I can’t guarantee it will work, but if you’re brave, I think your chances are good!

  • Elle B.

    Similar to the one of the most often published NYT recipes from the wonderful Marian Burros which I’ve made to raves many times.
    I like the addition of walnuts in this version. It’s such an adaptable cake!

  • Ben Myhre

    This looks beautiful and it is more than just the pictures. I am imagining how this might taste in my mouth and YUMMERS! I might have to make my imagination a reality.