A simple but pretty German-style cake made with sweet and sour red plums and baked with a cinnamon streusel (crumble). Best enjoyed with coffee and friends or for afternoon tea.
When plums are in season, I always feel like eating cake, especially the one I have grown up eating in Germany - Plaumenkuchen (pronounced flau-men-kuken). As you might know, we Germans, are known for our baking back home, especially tray cakes! These are popular, as they are easy to make and can be eaten-on-the-go!
When my wife, Shilpi visited Germany for the first time, she loved the countless varieties of tarts and cakes offered at bakeries! But her all time favourite has gotta be this plum streusel cake.
Not only is the plum cake impressive to look at, it also smells and tastes so divine! I have to admit, it was so much fun assembling the cake with these stunning red plums currently in season, here in Australia!
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
This recipe is certainly a keeper and here is why:
- works with any type of stone fruit
- great for afternoon tea parties and family gatherings
- easy to make ahead
- And most importantly, it looks and tastes absolutely amazing!
Red Plums - choose medium ripe with a bit of sourness still left. Avoid overripe fruits for this recipe as they will burst and spoil the look of the cake.
Flour - plain all purpose flour, preferably organic.
Yeast - use dried yeast as it is easily available. 1 packet adds upto 7g of yeast which is equivalent to 20g fresh yeast.
Milk - full fat milk for making the dough
Butter - unsalted for the dough and crumble
Sugar - use caster sugar
Egg yolk - just 1 egg yolk is enough for this recipe.
Vanilla & Cinnamon - to flavour the crumble.
PREPARING THE YEAST DOUGH
The dough for the German plum cake is based on yeast and needs to rise twice. Believe me, it's worth the wait!! Meanwhile, you can prepare the plums and crumble.
making the dough
To make the dough, heat the milk in a pot on low flame. The milk should be just warm and not hot.
Next, combine the yeast and sugar in a bowl and add the warm milk to it. Stir well and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, soft butter, egg yolk, a pinch of salt and add the milk-yeast mixture to it.
Bring the dough together, using a dough mixer with the hook attachment. Mix until all is coming together.
let it rise
Knead the dough by hand for another 5 minutes
Cover the dough and leave it to rest in a warm spot for 60 minutes.
rolling the dough
When the dough has risen after 60 minutes, knock it back and knead for another 2 minutes.
Line your baking tray with baking paper. I used a large tray for this recipe but if you have a small oven, you can divide the dough into two trays or alternatively make half the recipe.
Now roll the dough into ½ cm (0.2 inches) thickness. This dough is easy to roll and can also be stretched using your hands.
Once again, leave the dough covered, as it needs to rise for about 30 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE THE STREUSEL
While the dough is rising, you have time to prepare the crumble for the plum cake. It adds sweetness and a lovely crunch to the plums. Of course, there is a version of pflaumenkuchen without the crumble but I prefer the one with it😉
Crumbles are straight forward! Add the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl. Flavour with cinnamon and vanilla extract.
Now take some mixture and gently rub it between your hands. Slowly let the crumb like mixture, drop back into the bowl! Important is to not overwork it. Keep it in a cool dry place until you are ready to use it.
PREPARING THE PLUMS
Remove the seeds from the plums. Once you cut them in half they come out easily.
Cut the halves again in half and you are ready to assemble the cake for baking.
ASSEMBLING AND BAKING
The fun begins now! Place the tray with the rolled out dough in front of you and start layering the plums in rows, leaning against each other.
You really want them to almost stand up and look pretty.
Once you have layered your plums, garnish them with the crumble.
Sprinkle the crumble evenly on top without pressing it down.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C (375°F) for 35 to 40 minutes.
The top should be slightly brown and the plums soft and juicy. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it.
to make the cake without yeast, use a sweet shortcrust dough or puff pastry. The cake won't be exactly the same but for a quick version these dough's are the best options.
Yes absolutely, in fact all stone fruits work well for this cake but make sure they are semi-ripe for best results.
If your crumble doesn't take on any colour you can try to change the setting of your oven to top heat only and bake for 5 minutes longer. Alternatively try to add more butter to the crumble next time.
how to eat the plum cake
Pflaumenkuchen tastes best when still warm, saying that you can always re-heat the tart or any leftovers in the oven. In Germany, we serve plum tart with whipped cream.
Otherwise during warm summer, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side or perhaps a chilled vanilla sauce will be my recommendation!
Don't be impatient like us!! We clearly didn't add any garnish because we just couldn't resist eating the freshly baked tart as soon as it came out of the oven🤤!!
OTHER CAKES AND TARTS
Explore other recipes similar to this German plum cake:
- plum tarte tatin, another delicious stone fruit recipe
- french apple tart, traditional french baking
- chocolate ganache tart for the chocolate lovers
- baked ricotta cheesecake beautifully garnished with figs and maple syrup
If plums are in season for you, like for us in Australia now, give this German plum cake a go first! It is easy to make and is a simple and wonderful way to enjoy stone fruit season for other german desserts try this black forest cake.
Give it a try and you'll be sure to agree!
Until then, Happy baking!
German Plum Cake with Streusel
- small pot
- mixing bowls
- dough mixer with hook attachment
- Rolling Pin
- baking tray
for the dough
- 190 millilitre milk full fat
- 1 pkt dry yeast (7g/ ¼oz)
- 70 gram caster sugar
- 410 gram all purpose flour
- 80 gram unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- pinch of salt
for the crumble
- 80 gram all purpose flour
- 40 gram caster sugar
- 40 gram unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1.5 kg red plums semi-ripe
for the dough
- Heat the milk in a pot on low flame. The milk should be just warm and not hot. In a bowl, combine the yeast and sugar and add the warm milk. Stir well and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the flour, soft butter, egg yolk and a pinch of salt. Add the milk-yeast mixture to it and mix using a dough mixer with the hook attachment until all is well combined.
- Knead the dough by hand for another 5 minutes. Covered the dough with a kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm spot for 60 minutes.
- When the dough has risen, knock it back and knead for another 2 minutes.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Roll out the dough to ½ cm (0.2 inches) thickness. Leave the dough covered to rise again for about 30 minutes.
for the crumble
- While the dough is resting, you have time to prepare the crumble. Add the flour, butter and sugar to a bowl along with the cinnamon powder and vanilla extract.
- Gently rub the mixture between your hands and let it fall back into the bowl. Continue until you have a crumbs like texture. Don't overwork the mixture. Keep it in a cool dry place until you are ready to use it.
- Cut the plums in half and remove the seeds. Cut the halves again in half.
- Place the tray with the rolled out dough in front of you and start layering the plums in rows leaning against each other with the cut side up.
- Once you have layered the plums sprinkle the crumble evenly on top. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190°C (375°F) for 35 to 40 minutes.
- The top should be slightly brown and the plums soft and juicy. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it.