Pflaumenkuchen (Plum Cake)

This past weekend we went to a party celebrating one of our friends becoming a US citizen. Everyone that came was asked to bring a dish that reflected their ancestral background. My husband Andrew is both Irish and Scottish so to represent his background we brought Irish Guinness Beef Stew and Scottish Millionaire’s Shortbread. My ancestral background is German, so I decided to make this traditional Pflaumenkuchen or Plum Cake. An extremely popular sweet yeasted cake that is topped with juicy plums and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar before baking. During late summer/early fall you will find Pflaumenkuchen in many bakeries throughout Germany. This plum cake has many different names depending on what part of Europe you travel to. In Germany, Austria or Switzerland this cake can be called a Quetschekuche, Zwetschgendatschi, Prummetaat or a Zwetschgenkuchen. Whatever name you choose to call this cake, I call it delicious! 😉 The cake is usually baked as a thin sheet cake on a large baking sheet, but when I saw this beautiful adaptation baked in a cake pan I had to give it a try. Serve warm topped with a dollop of whipped cream with coffee or tea for an incredible seasonal dessert.

One Year Ago: Beer Bread 

Pflaumenkuchen (Plum Cake)

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  • 1/2 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
  • 4 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 and ½ packets of active dry yeast (10 grams)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 pounds firm, ripe plums, pitted (6-7 plums)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jelly
  • 1 tablespoon liqueur (Grand Marnier, Brandy, Kirsch)


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees F, shut off.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the milk and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar; add yeast and let rest 10 minutes until foamy.
  3. Add melted butter, eggs, flour, superfine sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and salt to the yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook on medium-low until thoroughly combined, about 10 minutes
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. Cut the plums in half and quarter each half (getting a total of 8 slices per plum). Transfer to a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and cinnamon. Stir and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring-form pan; line bottom with a 9-inch circle of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Press dough into the prepared 9-inch spring-form pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin side down, to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in to cover it completely. Let the cake rest for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar.
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then unmold the cake by removing the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula under the cake to loosen, then slide the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. While the cake is still warm, heat the apricot preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat until completely melted.  Remove from heat and add liqueur and stir until combined. Strain mixture through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps. Let cool until it is only slightly warm. Brush a light coat on the plums. Let cool completely before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Yields: 14 servings

Source: adapted from Fior di Frolla

24 Responses to “Pflaumenkuchen (Plum Cake)”

  1. #
    Amy — September 26, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    Wow, this looks incredible, Christina! And sooo beautiful! I bet it tasted delicious 🙂

  2. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — September 26, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

    What a cool trick to let it rise in the warm oven. I’m going to call this delicious too, it’s easier to pronounce and so true!

  3. #
    jennknee — September 26, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    Absolutely Gorgeous!

  4. #
    sportsglutton — September 26, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

    Beautiful looking cake!

  5. #
    Penny — September 26, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

    It says 10 ounces of yeast? Is it supposed to be 1 ounce?

    • Christina replied: — September 26th, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

      I fixed it! It is supposed to be 10 grams or 1 1/2 packets of active dry yeast 🙂

  6. #
    Reem | Simply Reem — September 26, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

    This looks so Pretty!!!!
    Absolutely divine and luscious looking cake Christina…
    Love it…

    P.S Christina I love your blog and there is a award waiting for you dear. You can collect it here
    I hope you”ll enjoy it.

  7. #
    Penny Noel (@pennynoel) — September 26, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

    This is so pretty and I think I’ll make it for work to share! Is the yeast supposed to be 1 ounce? (it says 10) Thanks for always giving me great ideas!

    • Christina replied: — September 26th, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

      Thanks for catching that! It is supposed to be 10 grams or 1 1/2 packets of active dry yeast 🙂

  8. #
    Sara @ Fiordifrolla — September 26, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    Hi Christina 🙂 Thanks a lot, I’m very happy you enjoied this cake! It looks gorgeous!

  9. #
    Mandy@Withmilkandflour — September 26, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

    This cake looks beautiful! I’ve always been abit scared of yeast but have played around with afew recipes and now feel abit more comfortable with using it. I will be bookmarking this recipe for a special occassion and it looks like it will taste amazing!

  10. #
    Mandy@Withmilkandflour — September 26, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    This cake looks really beautiful! I’ve always been abit scared of yeast but played around with afew recipes and now feel more comfortable with using it. I will be bookmarking this recipe for a special occassion. It looks like it will taste incredible!

  11. #
    Caroline — September 26, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    What an impressive cake! I’m sure the guests loved it. That’s such a great idea for a party, too. Hope you had fun. 🙂

  12. #
    happywhennothungry — September 26, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    What a beautiful cake and wonderful celebration!

  13. #
    Stefanie — September 26, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

    That is absolutely beautiful!! I’ve been looking for a tasty recipe with plums, so I might need to try this before plums are out of season!

  14. #
    overtimecook — September 27, 2011 @ 12:00 am

    That’s absolutely gorgeous!

  15. #
    ChgoJohn — September 27, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    This looks delicious. I need to jump on the plum bandwagon and try a few of these recipes. I love plums but just never think to cook with them — too many apples around. 🙂

  16. #
    Tina@flourtrader — September 27, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

    I have never had this traditional German cake before and I love the presentation here as well as the flavors. Plums do not get equal treatment when it comes to baked goods and I am glad you posted this. Stunning picture.

  17. #
    Margaret Murphy Tripp — September 27, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    Looks absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! But not too pretty to EAT! I love sweet yeast cakes.

  18. #
    Christine Fisak Silliman — September 29, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

    You mentioned that the original recipe is made on a sheet pan. Growing up, my mom made a pastry that sounds similar (on a sheet pan w/ fruit). She is not alive anymore and I have not been able to track down the recipe. Do you mind emailing it to me? Thank you SO much!!!

    • Christina replied: — October 15th, 2011 @ 11:37 pm

      The only thing that I changed from the original recipe was to bake it in a spring-form pan. To make it in a sheet pan, just spread the dough into the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet, top as directed and bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let me know how it turns out for you! 🙂

  19. #
    Jean — September 29, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

    My partner’s mom (German and him too, but they became Canadians), used to make a sugar-free,egg-free version of this plum cake.

    Still very good! She was trained in pastry chef techniques in Germany…making puff pastry from scratch!

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  21. #
    Sharon S. — December 10, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    I’m so happy to find this recipe. I have 15 quarts of plums from our tree in the freezer, and this sounds like a delicious way to use a quart or two.

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