German plum cake, called Pflaumenkuchen or Zwetschgendatschi in German, is a rich and delectable German streusel sheet cake with just the right amount of sweetness. I'm so glad you landed on this recipe because I'm so excited to show you how simple it is to create this traditional German cake from scratch in just 30 minutes of active working time.
There is something about the combination of sweet and tart that plum cake offers that I can't find in any other dessert. There are many reasons to love plum cake. It is a very versatile dessert. It can be made plain, with almond slivers or with crumble topping like in this video.
It is a very fruity, light cake, which makes it perfect for summertime. Plum cake is not as sweet as other cakes, so it is perfect for those who don´t like treats full of sugar.
This authentic German recipe combines a soft yeast dough layer with a wonderful, tart juiciness of the plums and the sweetness of the streusel on top. The cake is so delicious that I could eat it every day and never grow tired of it!
This recipe features a simple plum cake with crumb topping. If you are looking for a fancier version, try this German plum cake with pudding and sour cream.
Germans enjoy a brief afternoon break in the form of a slice of cake with a cup of coffee. The 4 o´clock so-called coffee hour is a popular tradition in Germany that many people still celebrate, especially on Sundays, whether alone or with friends and family.
The popular coffee break is frequently utilized as a fantastic method to connect with friends to meet at one of the great cafés that sell a vast variety of German cakes and pastries as well as coffee specialties.
In Germany, there are over 10.000 cafés. In comparison, Germany has only 160 Starbucks.
How is plum cake called in German?
The German word for plum cake is "Pflaumenkuchen". Der Pflaumenkuchen (m) in singular and die Pflaumenkuchen (f) in plural.
Another German word for plum cake is "Zwetschgenkuchen". Der Zwetschgenkuchen (m) in singular and die Zwetschgenkuchen (f) in plural.
This cake is known as Zwetschgendatschi in Bavaria and is frequently served as a breakfast option. Der Pflaumenkuchen (m) in singular.
How to pronounce "Pflaumenkuchen" the correct way in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Pflaumenkuchen" the right way.
A authentic German plum cake requires no unusual ingredients beyond those readily available at any given grocery.
Ingredients for the plum cake and fruit layer:
- all-purpose flour
- vanilla extract
- lemon peel
- ground cinnamon
- Italian plums
Ingredients for the streusel crumble:
- all-purpose flour
- vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon
See recipe card for quantities.
This cake is very easy to make; it is simple and a lot of fun to bake. Even tiny toddlers can help with the preparations.
Step1: Place flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Create a well in the middle with a cooking spoon and put 1 tablespoon of sugar, the yeast, and about half of the lukewarm milk into the well.
Step 2: Mix the ingredients in the well, adding a little flour from the edge of the well. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let it sit in a warm spot for about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Add the rest of the ingredients and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and shiny.
Cover it again with the kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Step 4: In the meantime, wash the plums, cut off the stems, and cut each plum half into three or four pieces.
Step 5; Cut the butter into small cubes for the streusel and put it in a medium-sized bowl with the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla sugar. Knead the ingredients until crumble form.
Step 6: Grease a baking sheet and dust it with a little flour. Roll out the yeast dough. I like to use a small pastry/pizza roller because it makes this task incredibly easy and quick.
Step 7: Arrange plum slices on top of the rolled out yeast dough. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon to taste.
Step 8: Spread streusel evenly over the plums and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Hint: For a less sweet version you can bake the cake without crumble topping.
What Kind of Plums Should be Used in a German Plum Cake?
This dessert is traditionally made using Italian plums. Other plum varieties, such as black, red, or yellow plums or mirabelles, can also be used.
Other Fruit Variations
This streusel sheet cake can be also created with a wide range of fruits, including:
- Apples & Pears - thin slices of apples or pears are a wonderful alternative to plums.
- Apricots & Peaches - add slices of apricots or peaches to the cake instead of Italian plums. You can use canned or frozen fruit in place of fresh fruit. If using frozen fruit, add it to the dough semi-frozen and bake it right away. Otherwise, the cake may become soggy.
- Cherries & Berries - fresh berries or canned cherries are also a delicious fruit choice for this recipe.
- Rhubarb - add some pickled jalapeños or banana peppers to the salad, or spice the dressing up with cayenne pepper or Sriracha.
Just these basic kitchen tools are required to prepare this dessert.
- standmixer (optional) you can knead the dough also by hand or with a hand mixer with kneading hook
- measuring cups and spoons
- apple slicer (optional)
- baking sheet
How to Serve
This kind of streusel cake is traditionally served with a generous amount of whipped cream and a cup of strong coffee. However, it can also be served with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
The cake keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure it's stored in an airtight container.
If you have any leftovers, which is unlikely given how good this cake is, you can freeze it. Allow at room temperature to defrost.
Instead of streusel, top the cake with almond slivers or just leave it plain. Both variations are also traditional German ways of preparing plum cake. This way, you can substantially reduce the sugar and carb content while also lowering the calorie count.
German Plum Cake - Pflaumenkuchen
- 2 ½ all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 egg
- 5 ½ tsp. active dry yeast or 2 ½ tsp. instant yeast
- 1 pinch of salt
- 4 ½ tbsp. butter melted
- 1 tsp. lemon peel
- 3-4 pounds plums
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- ½ tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 14 tbsp. butter cold
- Add flour to a stand mixer bowl. With a cooking spoon, shape a well in the middle and add 1 tbsp. sugar, yeast, and about half of the lukewarm milk to the well.
- Mix the ingredients in the well while incorporating a small amount of flour from the rim of the well.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for about 15 min. in a warm place.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and knead for about 10 min. or until the dough is smooth and shiny.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel once more and set aside in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until the volume has doubled.
- In the meantime, wash the plums, remove the stem, and cut the plums into halves, and then cut each half into 3 or 4 pieces. Peel the apples, remove the core, and slice into small slices.
- Cut the butter for the streusel into small cubes and add them with the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla sugar to a medium-sized bowl. Knead the ingredients until crumbles form.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Grease a baking sheet and flour lightly. Roll out the yeast dough and arrange the plums and apple slices on top of the dough.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste and spread streusel evenly over the fruit.
- Bake for about 25 - 30 Min.