German Plum Cake with Streusel (Pflaumenkuchen)
This sweet and slightly tart cake is irresistibly buttery and delicious. It’s so easy to make and I bet you have all the ingredients you need for it in your fridge and pantry right now.
The first time I heard about this cake is when I googled plum recipes. I do that for every fruit and veggie in season for inspiration. I saw the German name for this one pop up quite a few times in my search so I had to investigate. It’s also known by these other names zwetschgendatschi, zwetschgenkuchen, and quetschekuche. I was totally sold on it after each recipe went on about how simple it is and how fabulous it is.
I chose to go off the simplest recipe for both the cake and the streusel as you can imagine there are a whole whack of variations out there for both. The cake is a popular German cake – which could almost pass as a tart if you ask me. It’s most often made like this in a cake tin or in a sheet pan or slab cake/pie fashion. I went the cake route as it was the simplest with the fewest steps.
The cake has three layers essentially. The base which is between a cake and tart crust in texture. More accurately the very bottom of it gets slightly crust-like and the top part of it remains a bit spongy - likely due to the moisture from the jammy plums. That brings me to an important part of those to layers. Just like making a pie or a galette - there is a fine line between damp squidge in your cake/crust layer from the jammy fruit which is desirable, but sogginess certainly isn’t. That is why the dough is lined with vanilla pudding or if you are opposed to instant vanilla pudding than semolina or almond flour/meal is a great alternative. A sprinkle over the dough and then over the fruit layer does the trick. It soaks up the crimson juices of the ripe plums as they get jammified and delicious in the oven while baking.
When it comes to the plums themselves, they do not need to be tossed in sugar or anything. I scored some fabulously sweet ones - I mean I haven’t had sweet ones like that in a long time. Regardless the plums have just the right amount of sweetness with just enough tart to add a nice brightness to this cake. The dough and the streusel itself have enough sweetness in them already so no sugar is needed for the fruit layer.
I cannot even tell you how many compliments I got on this simple little humble cake. By far it’s been my family’s favorite cake of the summer. There are still plenty of plums out there - make sure and make making this cake a priority with some of them - 2 lbs of them to be exact. It’s great with tea, coffee, breakfast cause I don’t judge and most definitely with a dusting of powdered sugar and a dollop of whip cream. Heaven in each bite I’m telling you.
For the cake
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 lbs Plums, pitted and sliced in four
- 1 small package vanilla pudding – approximately 4 tsps divided (substitute with 4 tsp of almond flour or semolina)
For the streusel
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 inch round springform pan and line the bottom of it with parchment paper for easy removal from pan
- In a small bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and then the eggs one at a time until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Do not over mix.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan (it is thick and may be a bit sticky - I used a greased spatula to smooth it out evenly)
- Sprinkle the dough with 2 teaspoons of vanilla pudding powder. Spread the plums over the batter and then sprinkle them with remaining vanilla pudding powder if using otherwise use almond flour. (I sliced a few of my plums in half for decorative purposes - that is optional)
- Make the streusel: In a small bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the butter and using a fork gently work in the butter into the flour mixture until everything is combined and your crumbs have a coarse and clumpy texture.
- Spread the streusel evenly on top of the plums.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes until the streusel is golden brown and the plums are bubbling.
- Once done remove from oven and allow it to cool on cooling rack for a few minutes before removing the springform ring. Allow to cool further and then transfer to plate or slice and serve from the spring form bottom.
Adapted from TheGuardian.com