Every year I celebrate Oktoberfest. I have for years. It started with my dad going to Oktoberfest with my brother in Munich over a decade ago. He connected with our German ancestry and wanted the rest of us to experience the fun he had there. So since then, we always make sure to make it to Oktoberfest. We’ve even driven over two hours just to visit the most authentic in Southern California. And after the bratwurst and countless steins of beer, it’s nice to end the night with traditional Zwetschgenkuchen, German plum cake.
German plum cake is similar to a breakfast coffee cake. The cake is crumbly and the topping is buttery. The plum is sweet and becomes soft between the cake and crumbled topping. When I saw it being freshly baked at a farmers market in Berlin, I knew I had to try it. The woman handed it to me straight out of the oven with the most intoxicating smell. Even though it was piping hot, I dug right in. It was better than any I had tried in the United States, by a tenfold. It was buttery, sweet, and went perfect with my cup of coffee.
Since being back in the states, I’ve craved zwetschgenkuchen. And with my family celebrating Oktoberfest (if our backyard this year due to the pandemic) it seemed like the perfect time to make my own Zwetschgenkuchen. I also had some extra plums that were on the edge of turning, ideal for baking! The plums are at their sweetest at this point due to the higher sugar content.
For this cake, it’s important to cut the plum into thick pieces. I cut mine in half and then each half into thirds. These were the perfect size for the bake. It’s also important to push the plums into the batter a bit before topping them with the crumble. This allows the plum to bake into the cake but also aids in the sweetness of the batter. When the zwetschgenkuchen comes out of the oven, let it sit for at least thirty minutes before slicing. Cut into traditional squares and enjoy!
Zwetschgenkuchen (German Plum Cake)Print This
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of plum, pitted and sliced into sixths
- Crumble Topping -
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350.
Place a piece of parchment paper into a 9-inch square baking pan allowing it to hang over the edges. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a standing mixer using the batter hook for two minutes until light and airy. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until combined. Add the four, baking powder, and salt and mix on low until just combined. Make sure not to overmix the batter. The batter will be thick.
Spread the thick batter into the prepared square baking pan.
Wash and slice the plums in half. Pit and then slice each half into thirds. Arrange plum pieces in rows on top of the batter and gently push them into the batter a bit.
Add the crumble topping ingredients to a small bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix the ingredients for one to two minutes until it looks crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the crumbs, ensuring the batter and plums are entirely covered.
Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the zwetschgenkuchen to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. It’s best served warm, my favorite way to eat it, or served cold ridge out of the fridge.