traditional plum cake recipe

German Plum Cake: A Perfect Blend of Sweetness and Tartness

traditional plum cake recipe
traditional plum cake recipe – Image by Katja S. Verhoeven from Pixabay

German Plum Cake, or Zwetschgenkuchen, is a delightful dessert that beautifully showcases the flavors of plums while capturing the essence of German baking. This recipe combines a tender, buttery crust with a generous layer of plums and a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar. The result is a mouthwatering treat that effortlessly balances sweetness and tartness. Here’s why you’ll love this recipe, along with the ingredients, directions, and a few handy tips to ensure success. Plus, discover the perfect accompaniments to serve alongside this heavenly plum cake.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

  1. Perfect Plum Perfection: The star of this cake is the juicy, slightly tangy plums that soften and caramelize as they bake, adding a burst of flavor to every bite.
  2. Simple and Versatile: With basic pantry ingredients, you can create a rustic dessert that is suitable for any occasion, whether it’s a casual gathering or a special event.
  3. Comfortingly Delicious: The aroma of freshly baked plum cake filling your kitchen will make your home feel cozy, and each slice promises a delightful taste of German baking tradition.

Ingredients: For the Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Plum Filling:

  • 2 pounds plums, halved and pitted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt for the crust. Add the cold cubed butter and use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg and vanilla extract together. Pour the egg mixture into the crumbly mixture and mix until a dough forms. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform pan, extending it slightly up the sides.
  4. Arrange the plum halves, cut side down, on top of the crust in a circular pattern, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon evenly over the plums.
  5. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the plums are soft and juicy.
  6. In a separate small bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon for the topping. Remove the cake from the oven and brush the melted butter mixture gently over the plums.
  7. Return the cake to the oven for an additional 5 minutes to allow the topping to caramelize slightly.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Carefully release the sides of the springform pan and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Once cooled, serve the German Plum Cake at room temperature. It can be enjoyed as is or with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
plum cake recipe
plum cake recipe

Accompaniments to Serve with German Plum Cake:

  • Whipped Cream: A dollop of freshly whipped cream adds a creamy and luscious element to the cake. The lightness of the cream complements the richness of the plums.
  • Vanilla Ice Cream: The combination of warm plum cake and cold, creamy vanilla ice cream creates a delightful contrast in flavors and temperatures. The coolness of the ice cream adds a refreshing touch.
  • Custard Sauce: Drizzling a homemade custard sauce over a slice of German Plum Cake takes it to the next level of indulgence. The smooth and velvety texture of the custard beautifully complements the tender cake.
  • Crème Fraîche: This tangy and creamy French-style cultured cream adds a touch of sophistication to the dessert. Its slightly acidic flavor provides a lovely contrast to the sweetness of the cake.
  • Dusting of Powdered Sugar: For a simple yet elegant presentation, lightly dust the plum cake with powdered sugar just before serving. This adds a touch of sweetness and a beautiful visual appeal.
  • Coffee or Tea: A hot cup of coffee or tea is the perfect companion to a slice of German Plum Cake. The warm beverage enhances the flavors and provides a comforting experience.

Tips for Making This Cake:

  1. Use ripe, but not overly soft, plums for the best flavor and texture.
  2. If plums are not in season, you can use canned plums or other stone fruits like peaches or apricots as substitutes.
  3. Feel free to adjust the sweetness level by adding more or less sugar to the plum filling.
  4. To achieve a flaky crust, make sure your butter is cold and handle the dough as little as possible.
  5. Be careful when removing the sides of the springform pan to avoid damaging the delicate cake.
  6. This cake tastes even better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to meld together, so consider making it in advance.

Indulge in the flavors of Germany with this delectable German Plum Cake. It’s a dessert that perfectly balances the sweetness of plums with a hint of tartness, resulting in a treat that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy!