Traditional German Plum Cake (Zwetschgenkuchen)

Total Time
2hrs 5mins
Prep 40 mins
Cook 1 hr 25 mins

Summer Time is Zwetschgenkuchen time for me. This traditional German Plum Cake will be made with Damson Plums on a yeast dough. After your first mouthful of this juicy cake you will be addicted to the wonderful flavors of plums, cinnamon, yeast dough and whipped cream. I can't wait to get the first plums (Zwetschgen) every year to make one of my favorite fruit cakes.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Sift flour into a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Crumble yeast into well and mix it with 1 tablespoon of sugar, milk and some flour. This first yeast-mixture should be still fluid. Cover and let rise in warm place for 20 minutes.
  3. Add remaining sugar, melted butter, egg and a good pinch of salt and mix with yeast mixture and flour. Knead with floured hands until dough is peeling away from the side of the bowl and blistering. This step may take 10 minutes (or more). Use some additional flour, if dough is too sticky. At the end you should have a smooth dough.
  4. Cover and let rise in warm place for about 25 to 30 minutes or until dough has doubled.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the plums. Cut lengthwise and pit them. Cut the still connected plum halves once again lengthwise, but do not cut through. You should have a depitted plum which you can easily flatten.
  6. Grease backing tray. Dough is calculated for a baking tray of 11 3/4 x 15 inches.
  7. Remove yeast dough from bowl, knead once or twice and roll out on baking tray using a floured rolling pin. Along the sides of the baking tray form a border with yeast dough.
  8. Place plums on yeast dough in closely rows and press slightly into dough. Let rise again for 15 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven (425 F, 220 C).
  10. Bake the plum cake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile mix sugar and ground cinnamon for topping.
  12. Remove plum cake from oven and sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Cut into 20 pieces and serve warm or cold with whipped cream.
  13. NOTE on Baker's yeast: If possible use fresh baker's yeast. But you can replace it by 1 1/2 packages dry yeast.
  14. NOTE on Damson Plums: a traditional German Plum Cake is made with the slightly tart and not too juicy Damson Plums. You can also use other plum varieties, but the plums shouldn't be over-ripped or too juicy. I have tried it with other plum varieties and have reduced amount of sugar in topping.
  15. NOTE on traditional German Plum Cake: in my opinion this cake has to be made with yeast dough. It takes more time to make than other doughs, but it is worthwhile. Don't be afraid of the juices. This cake has to be juicy!
  16. There are existing several names for this type of frutit cake in Germany: Zwetschgenkuchen, Pflaumenkuchen and in Bavaria Zwetschgendatschi. Zwetschgen is the German name for Damson plums.
Most Helpful

4 5

This was quite nice, not too sweet. I was actually looking for another plum cake that a German friend of a friend makes - this wasn't it, but still made for a nice dessert, and was especially lovely with some whipped cream on top. Perhaps slightly more sugar in the base would have improved it. Thank you for posting.

4 5

my grandmother brought over this recipe from Germany during the holocaust

5 5

Just like Oma used to make. I had a hard time finding Damson plums locally, but it was worth the wait. I didn't need quite 3 1/2 lbs of plums, though. I made by with 2 to 2 1/2 lbs.