Pflaumenkuchen, also known as zwetchgenkuchen. A German Plum cake made with ripe plums. Moist, sweet, spongy, and delicious!
What’s a Pflaumenkuchen?
Pflaumenkuchen or Zwetschgenkuchen is a German cake made with yeast dough without any fruit. There are different versions of this cake, the most popular being a sheet cake made with or without pitted plums and topped with a crumbly streusel.
This summer cake is popular in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, aka the German-speaking countries.
My version here is a simple yeast cake baked in a round cake pan without a streusel. It’s a straightforward recipe perfect for beginners, and the result is amazing every single time!
Baking this cake is quite easy but requires some time as it’s a yeasted cake so you need to have some patience waiting for the batter/dough to rise!
How to Make a German Plum Cake
You start off by pouring the milk in a pan, add the butter, and stir on medium heat until the butter dissolves but do not let the milk boil. After the butter dissolves, I placed the pan by an open window to allow it to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together (apart from the plums) then add the milk/butter mixture and mix by hand until smooth. You can also mix with the hook attachment of your mixer but I personally prefer mixing it by hand. Cover the dough ball with a damp cloth and let it sit in a warm place for about half an hour or until it doubles in size.
Prepare a baking pan/tray by greasing it lightly with vegetable oil then spread the dough in the pan/tray. Top with pitted/quartered plums (You can also spread some fruit jam on top before adding the fruit if you like), this is also called pinching because you basically “pinch” the fruit in the dough. Allow dough to rise for 30-60 minutes, then bake until golden brown!
Serve with cream on top or sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)
- ⅓ cup (65g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (240ml) milk
- 2½ cups (400g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (6g) instant yeast
- 1 egg
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup (65g) granulated sugar
- 4 lb (2kg) ripe plums pitted, quartered
- Pour the milk into a pan then add the butter, place over a medium heat until the butter dissolves into the milk. Allow to cool slightly.
- Place all other ingredients into a bowl (apart from the plums), add the warm (not hot) melted milk/butter mixture and mix by hand until smooth.
- Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the dough to double in size (this should take about 30 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 355°F/180°C.
- Dust a working area with flour, knead the dough again. Roll out onto the baking pan.
- Top the dough with plum quarters and allow the dough to rise for about half an hour – 1 hour.
- Bake at 355°F/180°C for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then sprinkle with caster sugar before slicing and serving.