This traditional German plum coffee cake, aka Zwetschgenkuchen, is a large traybake, topped with juicy plums and buttery, crunchy streusel. Perfect for afternoon tea or as dessert.
If you’re baking for a crowd or have produce galore from your garden, this easy plum coffee cake (aka Pflaumenstreuselkuchen) is a versatile fruit cake recipe. The buttery, sweet streusel adds extra crunch and complements the tartness of the juicy plums.
- Plums – fresh, destoned plums work best for the cake but you can also use canned plums. Just make sure you’re draining them thoroughly before adding them to the base layer.
- Butter – I recommend using unsalted butter for this cake but if you’re using salted, simply omit the additional salt in this recipe.
- Powdered sugar / icing sugar gives the base layer a fine texture but you can substitute it with granulated sugar as well.
- Vanilla extract – You can alternatively use vanilla essence, sugar, or paste.
Versatile Fruit Cake Recipe
If plums are not in season or you’re struggling to get your hands on some fresh ones, you can substitute them with fresh cherries, apples, pears or apricots.
- Instead of lining the sheet pan with baking paper, you can also grease it with unsalted butter to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan.
- Start by preparing the streusel to give them some time to rest in the fridge. Cooler streusel create a firmer and crunchier crumble layer once baked.
- Make sure your base layer doesn’t have any lumps to create a delicate and even cake layer.
- I said it before but make sure to drain canned plums thoroughly to avoid the cake from becoming soggy.
Generously dust the cake with icing sugar once cooled. Add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream when serving for some extra indulgence.
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Plum Coffee Cake with Streusel
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour sifted
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 kg plums washed, pitted & quartered
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place baking paper onto a full-size baking sheet pan.
- Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, combine butter, flour, salt, vanilla essence, sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well until until crumbles form. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and store it in the fridge.
- Prepare plums: Wash, pit, and quarter the plums. In a medium bowl, mix the plums with the icing sugar. Set aside.
- Make the base: In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Slowly add the dry ingredients including flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well until everything is well combined.
- Assemble the cake: Pour the dough onto the baking sheet pan. Add plum quarters one by one and top it with the streusel.
- Bake the cake for 50 minutes until the streusel is golden brown and slightly crunchy.
- Serve: Once cooled, add a light dusting of icing sugar. Cut it into squares and enjoy it with a dollop of cream!
This moist cake stores well in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Pflaumenkuchen aka Zwetschgenkuchen is definitely one of the most loved fruit cakes in Germany.