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Lisa’s Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

One of the most iconic and romantic moments of Italian-American cinema is when Al Pacino, as Michael Corleone, meets Apollonia Vitelli, the love of his life, in the Sicilian countryside. After this “colpo di fulmine”, as the Italians call it, Michael and his bodyguards walk to a bar where they identify Apollonia to her father as a girl wearing a “vestito di colore prugne” with a “fiocco in testa di colore prugne”  – a plum-colored dress and a plum-colored ribbon. Like Apollonia, plum has always been a favorite color of Lisa’s and she, of course, loves the fruit too! A classic American cake which Lisa’s mother would always make was Pineapple Upside Down Cake. In the winter months, Lisa loves to give the cake her own spin and make it with plums. Enjoy this recipe and watch Lisa make it on her YouTube channel. Buon Appetito e Tutti a Tavola!

Lisa’s Plum Upside Down Cake Ingredients:

Plum Upside Down Cake

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

8 medium-size plums, pitted and cut into wedges

½ cup mascarpone

4 tablespoons whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon Sicilian sea salt, fine

2 large eggs

Lisa’s Plum Upside Down Cake Directions:

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn off the heat and whisk in 1 stick of the butter. Pour the mixture into a deep 9-inch round metal or heat proof glass cake pan. Arrange the plum wedges in the sugar and butter mixture in a circular design.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the mascarpone with the milk and vanilla in a large bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer. Mix in the flour and sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining stick of butter until the mixture is very crumbly. Then beat in the eggs until they’re well incorporated. Beat the batter for another 2 minutes until it is light and fluffy. Pour the batter over the plums and bake the cake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake

To serve, place a slice of the cake upside down on a plate, so that the plums are visible.

Plum Upside Down Cake


  • Lisa Caponigri

    Lisa Caponigri is the author of This is Sunday Dinner and Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?, published by Sterling Epicure. Both of Lisa's cookbooks brim with her memories of living in Italy, both as a child and as an adult raising her own family, anecdotes about her family, regional and seasonal Italian specialties, and all the advice needed to get a spectacular Sunday Dinner on the table, every Sunday of the year. She has developed a line of prepared foods and sauces called Lisa’s Italian Kitchen. Lisa debuted on HSN and has appeared on QVC. She has also appeared on a variety of television programs, including Seattle's New Day Northwest, Good Morning Toronto, Chicago's WGNLunchbreak, and New England Cooks, to name a few. Lisa is frequently consulted as an expert in Italian lifestyle and food. Lisa Caponigri lives in South Bend, IN and travels frequently to Italy to research the latest in "la dolce vita". Visit to learn more about Lisa!

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