Italian Lemon Plumcake is a moist easy cake, similar to the texture of a Pound Cake. Makes the perfect Breakfast, Snack or Dessert Recipe.
The first time I tried this cake I was at a friend’s house. She asked if I would like to try a piece of Plumcake. At first I thanked her and said I had just eaten and I wasn’t hungry at the time, needless to say I didn’t want to admit to the fact that I wasn’t crazy about plums.
She said she was sure that since I liked lemons, she was positive I would like it. Lemons?! I thought, but you called it a Plum cake. That’s when I discovered that Italians call this delicious Loaf Cake a Plumcake.
- Flour – all purpose
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Lemon – 1/2 fresh lemon zest if you want you can add a teaspoon or 2 of fresh lemon juice.
- Eggs – large
- Sugar – granulated
- Yogurt – whole fat regular
- Vegetable Oil – I use corn or sunflower oil
Why is it called a Plumcake?
I discovered a few reasons, one being that it is actually a take on the English Plumcake which is actually made with candied fruit, it is also thought that it was taken from an English cake called the poundcake.
Where the term pound indicates in the classic pound cake is the same amount of measurement for each ingredient (one pound of flour, one of eggs, one of butter, one of sugar and one of fruit) in order to make it easier to remember the recipe.
But the question is so how did it go from poundcake to plumcake? It has been said that it was a mispronunciation of the word pound! Oh well, the Italians might have gotten the pronunciation wrong but they sure got the cake right! They also changed it up a bit by adding yogurt and vegetable oil.
How to make it
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest. Set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat on medium speed the eggs and sugar until creamy and light, approximately 5 minutes, then add the yogurt, oil and vanilla and combine, add the flour mixture, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester come out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Let cool before serving. Dust with powdered sugar if desired or drizzle with a lemon glaze.
How to make a simple lemon glaze
In a small bowl beat together the 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice until smooth. If it’s too thin then you can add more juice or even milk or cream, if it is too thin then mix in a little more powdered sugar.
The difference between lemon juice and zest
Some people insist that the zest has more lemon flavour than the juice. The zest is the oil of the lemon and is therefore filled with the pure lemon flavour.
The juice holds the acidic tart taste of the lemon. Just be sure to grate only the yellow part of the lemon and no white part. The white part will add only bitterness. And you don’t want that!
In this recipe I used only lemon zest, but if you want you can add 1-2 teaspoon of lemon juice also, just to give it a bigger boost of lemon flavor.
What can I substitute for yogurt?
You could substitute yogurt with sour cream, buttermilk or even greek yogurt. Although if you use greek yogurt is is best to add a tablespoon or 2 of milk, since it is thicker than regular yogurt.
What kind of pans can you use?
I made this in the typical Italian fashion, with a loaf pan, if you prefer you can also use a 7 1/2 inch bundt pan, an 8×8 inch square pan, an 8 or 9 inch cake pan or even a 24 cup medium muffin tin.
How to Store an Italian Pound Cake
Once the Cake is baked it can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Or it can be stored wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Serve at room temperature.
How to freeze it
Wrap the completely cooled loaf in plastic wrap or foil, then place in an airtight freezer safe bag. It will keep for up to a month in the freezer.
In Italy these simple, tasty and quick cakes are perfect for breakfast or offered with coffee when friends are visiting. I found this Lemon Plumcake to be a perfect base for some strawberries and whipped cream, an Italian Strawberry shortcake!
Although it is delicious served plain, dusted with some icing sugar or as a new go-to for a fancier dessert. Enjoy!
More Delicious Lemon Desserts
Italian Lemon Plumcake
- 1 1/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (180 grams)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch salt
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar (112 grams total)
- 1/2 cup whole fat vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use corn oil) (137 grams total)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius). Lightly grease and oil a 9 inch (23 cm) loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat on medium speed the eggs and sugar until creamy and light, approximately 5 minutes, then add the yogurt, oil and vanilla and combine, add the sifted ingredients, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- Spoon into prepared loaf pan. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Let cool before serving. Dust with icing sugar if desired. Enjoy!
Updated from February 28, 2019.
Janine T. says
Excellent cake. Moist and airy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Hi Janine, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed it. Take care!
marianna mazzarino says
the lemon plum pound cake is it it supposed to have plums in it? Thank you
Hi Marianna, no it doesn’t have plums in it. It’s just the Italian name for plum cake. I explain it a bit in the blog post. 🙂
Nathalie Legendre says
Excellent recipe. The only change I made, because I love lemon, is I added the juice of one lemon juice. My Italian friends loved it.
Hi Nathalie, thanks so much, so glad you enjoyed it, and great idea adding lemon. Take care.
Renu kohli says
I have sweet-sour firm Indian plums. Can I substitute for peaches to make upside down cake similar to your recipe for peach one? I’m based in New Delhi
Hi Renu, sure that should work, let me know how it turns out.
Carol Biscioni says
Easy, delicious and much appreciated! Thank you.
Hi Carol, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it.
Susan Elliot says
I made this cake and it was fantastic – thought I would freeze half of it but it didn’t last that long – gone by dinnertime!
I’m now going to try a gluten free version using almond meal(I’ve started using around almonds (skins included) and a little corn flour. I make my family’s favourite IiMK cake like that (easy pear cake) – just with a straight forward substitution and it’s fabulous.
Hi Susan, thanks so much, let me know how the gluten free turns out. 🙂
It was fantastic. The almond meal is finally ground and the skins add a Lille texture. The pear cake quite custards and a great breakfast cake it’s summer here so I added 1/2 cup of real plums to the plum cake Delicious both ways. I find almond meal works better than the GF Flours. Less processed.
Hi Susan thanks for letting me know, so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
Susan Elliot says
thank you for posting – its a fabulous recipe and will probably be my new “party trick”
Hi Susan, thanks so much, so glad you like it. Have a great weekend.
So funny! I think I would feel weird about trying “plum” cake, although I love plums. This pound cake looks so moist and fluffy, my list of recipes to try from your blog is getting too long, lol!
Marisa Franca says
This would be great to freeze and have on hand in case company dropped by. It would be lovely with cafe or tea. I am definitely making this once I get back North. Mille grazie!