9 In Cakes, Pies & Tarts/ Germany/ Recipes

Easy German Plum Cake

Do you like plums? Not being a fan of fresh plums or plum desserts myself, I balked at making German Plum Cake. For years. But it’s popular in Germany, so I decided to give it a try.

The result?

I loved it so much I made it twice in two weeks! It’s now one of my favorite traditional German cakes, and I make it at least once a summer. 

Each bite of this easy German cake is a delicious combination of tender cake, melt-in-your-mouth sweet plum, and buttery streusel.

Even better? Add a dollop of fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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You can replace the plums with another stone fruit (like peaches) but I highly recommend using fresh plums. As they bake they become soft and sweet and combine so well with the crunchy streusel. Plums really are perfect for this cake. 

Oh, and in case you want to look for it while traveling in Germany, plum cake in German is Zwetschgenkuchen or Pflaumenkuchen (and cake in German is Kuchen). 🙂 If plums are in season, it’ll be easy to find at bakeries and cafes all over Germany. 

German plum cake is the perfect treat to bring to your next work potluck or family dinner. Or just to enjoy  a slice of this easy plum cake in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea. 

Fortunately, it’s super easy to make! I had the entire cake prepared and in the oven in less than 10 minutes. Whip the cream while the cake is baking and you’ve got a delicious dessert in no time. 

Some German plum cake recipes use a yeast dough but I opted for the simpler quark-oil-dough (Quark-Öl-Teig), or rather Greek yogurt-oil-dough, since I didn’t have any quark on hand (if you want to be authentic, get my quark recipe here). The dough came together quickly, was easy to roll out, and tasted delicious.

The next step is to press the dough into a sheet pan (I LOVE this one from USA pan). If my plums are especially juicy, I sprinkle a little cream of wheat on the dough, but you can leave this out if you want.

After that, slice the plums (I usually slice them into 6-8 slices) and place them in rows on the dough. I should say here that I always make my plum cake using a sheet pan (I do the same with my German Bienenstich cake) because that’s how I always saw it at German bakeries! You will find plum cake (and Bienenstich) in the round cake shape, but not only do I like the German bakery look, I find it much easier to make and slice the cake when I use my baking pan. If you prefer the round cake look, use a springform pan. 

The final step is to mix up the streusel, sprinkle it over the plums, and then pop the cake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

Quick aside — you probably have your own favorite baking pans and method for preparing baking sheets but what I’ve found works really well is the USA pan I mentioned above and a sheet of parchment. The cake doesn’t stick to the pan, clean up is a breeze, and my baking pan still looks good as new! I wish I’d done this with my older, full-sized USA pan because it looks…much less new. 🙂  

I do have a Silpat mat that I use all the time but it only fits my full-size baking pan. Until I get a smaller one for my smaller pan, parchment paper it is. Have you ever used the parchment sheets? I always get the roll, because I like being able to use as much or as little as I need, but the sheets seem pretty convenient. The parchment paper cake rounds seem like they’d be really big help if you make a lot of round cakes.


No matter what kind of baking pan you use, I think you’ll love this German Plum Cake! It’s is delicious right out of the oven and even better with fresh whipped cream.

Served warm with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream would be amazing, too! Enjoy!

How to Make Plum Cake: Easy German Plum Cake Recipe

German Plum Cake

German Plum Cake

Yield: 12 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Fresh sweet plums and butter streusel make this easy traditional German cake perfect for your next work potluck, family dinner or afternoon snack! 

Ingredients

  • DOUGH
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or quark)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • FRUIT TOPPING
  • 2-3 lbs fresh plums
  • 1-2 tbsp cream of wheat
  • STREUSEL
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 tbsp cold butter (diced)

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

  1. To make the dough, mix yogurt (or quark), milk, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. 
  2. Once dough forms a ball, turn onto a floured surface and knead a couple times until dough becomes smooth. Be careful, though, not to add too much flour or overwork the dough (if you do it may come out tough).
  3. Press dough into prepared jelly roll pan (14.5 x 10 inches). Sprinkle the cream of wheat over the dough. 
  4. Cut plums in half and then each half into 3 or 4 slices. Arrange slices on the dough so they overlap slightly (skin side should be touching the dough).  
  5. To make the streusel topping, mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Then rub the butter into the flour mixture. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the plums. 
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until crust and streusel are lightly browned. 
  7. Let cool and serve with fresh whipped cream or a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Notes

Based on this recipe and this recipe

Click here for more German dessert recipes!

You've got to try these German desserts!

 


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9 Comments

  • Reply
    shivangi
    December 18, 2018 at 11:11 am


    plum cakes are the main part of Christmas …and having this blog in this month is very useful thank you

    • Reply
      Cate
      December 24, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      I hope you enjoy this German plum cake!

  • Reply
    Jean Ingram
    March 4, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    How to use this recipe for high altitude?

    • Reply
      Cate
      March 5, 2019 at 4:37 pm

      Good question! I’ve almost always lived at sea level so I had to look it up. 🙂 Here’s an article I found that gives lots of tips for baking at various altitudes (since I don’t know the specific altitude you’re at) – http://dish.allrecipes.com/high-altitude-cake-baking/ For this type of cake, I’d follow these tips (to avoid a dry cake when baking at high altitude):

      – Don’t overbeat the eggs. Overbeating adds too much air to the cake.
      – Raise the baking temperature slightly; the faster cooking time will keep the recipe from rising too much. At elevations over 3,500 feet, the oven temperature for batters and doughs should be about 25 degrees F higher than the temperature used at sea level.
      – Decrease the amount of baking powder slightly; this also prevents the recipe from rising too much.

      Let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply
    Teresa
    August 22, 2019 at 5:38 pm


    I think there is an error in this recipe. 3/4 tbsp sugar for the streusel topping was not sufficient to sweeten this dessert. I used tree-ripened plums harvested at their peak sweetness and when baked this was just as sour as a plate of lemons. I wanted to follow the recipe exactly the first time, but if I ever make it again, the streusel topping needs 3/4 CUP of sugar instead of tablespoon.

    • Reply
      Cate
      August 22, 2019 at 7:51 pm

      Oof, yes, that should be 3/4 cup sugar! Thanks for letting me know, I just fixed the typo. I hope you were able to sweeten up the cake with a sprinkle of sugar or topping it with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

  • Reply
    MaryJo
    September 4, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    This sounds wonderful and it would be perfect for an event that I’m attending tomorrow. Can you suggest an alternative to Cream of Wheat? Perhaps all-purpose flour or cornstarch?

    • Reply
      Cate
      September 4, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      If your plums are really, really juicy, you could sprinkle a little corn starch on them but if they’re not overly juicy, I’d just leave out the Cream of Wheat altogether. I hope you enjoy the cake!

      • Reply
        MaryJo
        September 4, 2019 at 8:32 pm

        They’re not terribly juicy, so I’ll skip it. And I know everyone will love it! Thanks for your prompt reply.
        MJ

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