Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake (Vegan)

Despite it being mid-October, I haven’t really gotten into the swing of fall yet. Perhaps that’s because it has been unseasonably warm (thanks, global warming) and, until a few days ago, I was wearing sundresses and flip flops. The one autumnal thing that has started to rub off on me, however, is fall baking.

Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

It’s not that I don’t bake in the spring, summer, or winter (if you’ve perused my blog or Instagram, you know that I bake year-round, maybe too much), but there’s something about the onset of fall that screams, “IT’S TIME TO PUT ON YOUR APRON AND BAKE THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYTHING.”

Okay, sorry, that was a bit aggressive, but I think you know what I mean. If you go apple picking (for the gram, obviously), what else are you supposed to do besides bake an apple pie, followed by an apple crisp, apple turnovers, and apple cider donuts? It would be cruel to the apples to not use them wisely. And at every bakery or restaurant you pass by, there’s a new pumpkin delicacy that’s practically begging you to try it and then recreate it at home. So then, you just have to bake a pumpkin gingersnap tart, pumpkin chocolate chunk blondies, and pumpkin spice muffins. Because it’s fall, duh.

Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake
Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

Or, maybe you just bake a Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake! Because it has all the fall flavors you love with a beautiful surprise on top.

If I don’t say so myself, the plums look BEAUTIFUL in this cake, but if you can’t find plums, you can either (a) omit them and just make a pumpkin loaf cake or (b) substitute another fruit, like sliced pears or apples. If you go with option (a), I highly recommend throwing in a few handfuls of vegan chocolate chips and/or walnuts to give the loaf some pizzazz.

Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

I tried to keep this cake relatively healthy, which is why it makes an excellent pairing alongside an afternoon cup of tea. I swapped half of the all-purpose flour with whole spelt flour, so you have some more fiber, protein and nutrients. The cake is also sweetened with maple syrup and coconut sugar, so it’s refined sugar-free, though you can easily replace the coconut sugar with brown sugar if that’s what you have on hand.

That’s about it for this cake so I’ll just leave you with some photos and the recipe! If you’d like me to make any particular fall recipes, drop me a line below!

Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake
plum upside down cake on gray closeup (1 of 1).jpg

Plum Upside Down Pumpkin Cake



Pumpkin Cake

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 

  • 3/4 cup whole spelt flour

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • 3-4 ripe but firm plums, pitted and sliced

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegan butter)

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Once the oil hot, add the sliced plums and ¼ cup maple syrup and cook, tossing gently, until the juice from the plums become syrupy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  3. Line a standard 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the plums, slightly overlapping on the bottom of the pan.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, spelt flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and baking powder, and whisk to combine. 

  5. In a large bowl, mix together the canned pumpkin, maple syrup, coconut sugar, olive oil, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well incorporated.

  6. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet and whisk until the ingredients are mixed well. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I recommend checking for doneness at 35 minutes.

  8. Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack to cool the cake somewhat. Then carefully lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto a wire rack to fully cool.