This cake is a simple quintessential German sheet cake. When the Zwetschgen are in season you will find this cake in every bakery. It is always made with Italian plums, or Zwetschgen, as we call them in Germany. Read more about the Zwetschgen here where I posted a delicious cake recipe for them. For this recipe I decided to try a different dough using yeast, which is the traditional way in Germany when baking Zwetschgenkuchen. It is customary to bake the Kuchen on large baking sheets. The dough is drier and uses only 3 tablespoons of sugar. Think of pizza dough. My husband says this is not a Safeway cake which is his favorite, it is dense and heavy but tasty. He approved after all. There are many different recipes, I decided to use Luisa Weiss’s recipe from her Classic German Baking book. She did all the homework for me adapting the sheet cake to American ingredients. Thank you Louisa! By the way, if you enjoy German sweets, this book is fantastic.
Luisa’s recipe only uses one half sheet which will make enough for 10 -12 pieces. That’s great, because this sheet cake is best when freshly baked and ok on the second day. It tastes twice a good with whipped cream. Don’t skimp on the plums, you barely want to see the base. The next time I bake this cake I will use more plums and maybe a little more sugar and butter. The Streusel adds sweetness and richness. My godmother, a gifted baker, would often bake the cake with a custard on top. I loved that. You could omit the streusel and sprinkle some sugar over the plums before baking. Then you could call it a plum pizza. Please, try this cake with whipped cream. It makes all the difference and elevates this cake to a different level.
7 ounces ( 200g) all purpose flour , more for kneading
3 TBS sugar
1 tsp. Instant yeast
½ tsp.lemon zest
pinch of salt
3 TBS (40g) unsalted European butter
1 egg yolk
2 -2 ½ pounds Italien plums
4.2 ounces (120g) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (70g) sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5 TBS. (70g) unsalted European style butter, softened
Melt the butter and let it cool. Bring the milk and egg yolk to room temperature. You want the milk to be hand warm.
Line a 9-13-inch metal baking sheet with parchment paper, letting the sides hang over the edges.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel, and salt. Mix in the butter, milk, and egg yolk. Once the dough is formed dump it on a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes. It should be silky smooth. Add a little bit more flour, but not too much. The dough should still be soft and slightly floppy.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl. Cover the bowl with a dishcloth and place in a warm, draft free location for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350˙ Fahrenheit (180˙C )
Prepare the topping, halve and pit the plums, then quarter them. For the Streusel, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter in cubes and add to the flour mixture. Using your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until you have bean-size Streusels. Cover and refrigerate the streusel mixture until ready to use.
Gently deflate the dough with your fingers and push it evenly to fit the pan creating a 1 inch edge. The rest of the dough should be about 1/8 inch thick.
Starting at the edges push the plums skin-side down into the dough. The plums should be snug together so that no dough is showing. Sprinkle the Streusel evenly over the cake. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the edges of the Streusel are turning colors.
Cut this cake into serving pieces. It is best served the same day or the next. It tastes great when it is still warm smothered with whipped cream.
Recipe by Luisa Weiss
Posted by Sunnycovechef.com
Here are some more of my plum recipes.
This plum tart has a buttery crust . Click here for the recipe.
Marian Burro's recipe for plum cake was printed in the New York Times for years. Click here for the recipe
MY favorite recipe for spiced plum butter. We call it Zwetschgenmus in Germany. Click here for the recipe
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Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.