10th March, 2020


Plums abound these last few weeks. I am picking omega plums from the garden, and the market stalls are boasting many varieties, from dark-hued black doris to the glorious rouge-kissed luisa. Once they reach that optimum ripeness it is difficult to go past a fresh plum, eaten with juices running down the chin.

I used poppy seeds collected from my garden in this cake. I have only grown poppies a number of times, and this year planted several dozen seedlings including some fabulous peony poppies. Now the pods have dried I have brought them inside and will save the seeds to sow along with my broad beans next spring. (And as you can see in the image above the dahlias and cosmos have also been vibrant in the garden this year).

Plum, Polenta & Poppy Seed Cake

The addition of quick-cook polenta gives this cake a soft texture to compliment the poppyseeds. Polenta absorbs a lot of water (about four times its weight), so a small amount goes a long way. This cake can also be made with other firm-fleshed stone fruit, as well as apples or pears later in the season with some warming spice such as cardamom or cinnamon.
Servings 12
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • ½ cup 125ml olive oil
  • cup 70g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup 125ml yoghurt
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 cup 140g standard white flour or gluten-free flour
  • ¼ cup 50g fine polenta (quick cook)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 5-6 firm-fleshed plums - such as black doris or omega plums, cut into 2cm chunks (about 1 heaped cup)
  • 1 tbsp extra sugar (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line and grease a 22cm round cake tin.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, yoghurt and poppy seeds, and combine. Sift over the flour, polenta and baking powder, and use a spatula to gently fold together until half mixed.
  • Toss the plums with the extra tablespoon of sugar (this is optional), add to the batter and mix until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake tin.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cake rack to cool. Serve with natural yoghurt.

Join the Conversation

  1. Laura Foley says:

    Hi Nicola
    Could I sub the Polenta with almond meal or coconut flour? I have both of those in the pantry:)
    Thanks heaps

    1. Hi Laura, I haven’t tried this recipe with either of these substitutions so I can be certain. The coconut flour is similar to polenta in that is absorbs a lot of water so I imagine a similar quantity could be used. If using almond meal I would double (possibly more) the quantity as it is similar to standard flour. Either way you may need to tweak the quantity added, the cake batter is quite wet but not runny. I hope that helps and happy baking!

  2. Hi Nicola 🙂
    I’ve just made this cake with peaches, and also made your stonefruit caramel sauce to go with it! I was wondering if you have tried freezing this cake?? Also can I freeze the caramel sauce in the jars instead of preserving, like with the slow roast tomato sauce? (Yup, made that too! 😀 and the boiled lemon loaf!) I borrowed your book from the library, but I may have to get my own haha!
    Thanks heaps 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole, thanks for the message 🙂 And you wouldn’t be the first to get your own copy of Homegrown Kitchen after borrowing from the library 😉
      You have been busy! Yes, the caramel sauce can also be frozen with space at the top of the jar as the sauce will expand a little. I haven’t tried freezing the cake, but I can’t see why not. I would slice beforehand and thaw slices as needed.
      Happy cooking!

  3. This was delicious! I only had coarse polenta so I blended it up with the flour so make it finer. And it turns out my baking powder is probably bunk so it was a little bit flat, but still soft and delicious.
    (Also worth mentioning that I used frozen plums that I let soften slightly, cut them up, and added to the mix while still mostly frozen)

    1. Hi Sophie, wonderful! There needs to have a use-by date on baking powder as it doesn’t last as long as we think. I make it myself in a small jar to last about 6 months. Using 1 part baking soda, 1 part citric acid and 1 part tapioca or cornflour (starch). Directions are in my book too 🙂

  4. Jennie Crum says:

    Wonderful cake to showcase the Omegas 🙂 Not so sweet, a bit of crunch, perfect thanks Nicola!

    1. Thanks Jennie! I do like a more fruit tasting cake rather than overly sweet. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  5. Daisy Dobbie says:

    Hi Nicola, could I use frozen berries in place of the plums? Thanks 😊

    1. Hi Daisy, I can’t see why not. I haven’t tried this particular recipe with berries but I think it would work well. I generally don’t defrost berries to use in baking but if they are bigger, like boysenberries, then I would slightly defrost first.
      Enjoy, Nicola

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