Prune Upside Down Cake with Toffee and Sesame

Menu PartDessert
Cuisine TypeMediterranean
Prune cake

Chef Bronwen Wyatt

Bayou Saint Cake

New Orleans

Chef Bronwen Wyatt makes the most of prunes in this rich, moist butter cake. Toffee and sesame add an intriguing layer of flavor and texture and make for a dramatic presentation.


Sesame-prune layer

Nonstick cooking spray

½ cup light brown sugar

4 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. top-quality apple cider or rose vinegar

Grated zest of 1 orange

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

2 cups prunes, sliced lengthwise in thirds


1½ sticks butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

Grated zest and juice from 1 orange

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. top-quality apple cider or rose vinegar

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. baking powder


  1. For sesame-prune layer, line 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In large, non-reactive saucepan over low heat, combine brown sugar, butter, vinegar, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Stir mixture gently with heatproof spatula until butter melts. Increase heat to medium; using wire whisk, whisk mixture until it becomes cohesive and looks like caramel. Allow caramel to simmer gently 1 minutes.
  3. Stir in sesame seeds to combine and immediately pour into bottom of prepared pan, tilting pan so caramel coats it evenly. (Caramel thickens rapidly as it cools, so do this quickly while it’s still warm.)
  4. Place prunes in a decorative pattern over caramel, pressing gently into caramel layer. Cool completely.
  5. For cake, preheat oven to 350 F. In medium non-reactive saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook gently until it begins to smell fragrant and nutty and begins to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  7. In stand mixer bowl, cream cooled butter and brown sugar with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time; mix until just combined, scraping down sides. Add orange zest and juice, olive oil and vinegar; mix just to combine.
  8. Scrape batter into pan over caramel layer, leveling so it covers caramel completely and evenly. Bake 45 to 45-50 minutes, rotating the pan once halfway through baking. When cake is done, it should be an even deep golden brown and spring back lightly when pressed in center. Allow cake to cool 10 minutes (if you let it cool much longer, the caramel portion will stick to the bottom of the pan when unmolding). Using a knife, gently separate edges of cake from pan.

9. Using potholders or a towel, flip cake over onto serving plate and remove pan. If any prune slices stick to bottom, simply press them back into place on surface of the cake. Allow to cool 10 to 15 minutes longer before slicing.

Photo courtesy of California Prunes

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