Upside Down Polenta Plum Cake with Sumac Syrup

Polenta gives a cake a lovely soft set and crumbly texture. Although a very classically Italian ingredient, I have combined the delicate flavour of sumac, to give a floral and citrus kick to the cake and a slight Mediterranean zing. I have used plums as I managed to get hold of some beautiful ones before they go out of season but this would be delicious with peaches too, for those heading into Summer. Finish with a dollop of yoghurt or crème fraiche.


4-5 plums

200g butter

200g sugar

3 large eggs

175g ground almonds

100g fine polenta or cornmeal

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 lemons, zest, save juice for syrup

1tbsp sumac, plus extra to finish

100g caster sugar

Greek yogurt, optional to serve


1. Preheat oven to 180C/160 fan/gas 4. Grease and line a springform tin.

2. Slice the plums in half and into 8 segments. Arrange in the base of the tin, starting from the centre in a spiral.

3. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and using an electric whisk, beat until pale and fluffy.

4. Lightly beat the eggs and slowly add to the mix, beating between each addition. Add the lemon zest and incorporate.

5. Mix the almond flour, polenta and baking powder and salt. Add to the bowl and whisk to combine until you have a grainy, thick batter.

6. Spoon into the prepared cake tin on top of the sliced plums. Level with the back of a spoon and place in the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the golden brown and the edges of the cake are coming away from the sides. It will still have a wobble to it but a cake tester should be mostly clean. Leave in the tin to cool on a wire rack.

7. While the cake is cooling prepare the syrup. Place the sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the sumac to infuse. Leave to cool and thicken slightly.

8. Once the cake has cooled for 15 minutes, carefully turn onto a plate and remove the cake tin and baking paper to reveal the plum topping. Brush the sumac syrup all over and leave to cool completely.

9. Serve with Greek yoghurt and an extra pinch of sumac.