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Plum Cake / Pflaumenkuchen - Got a Recipe?

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celestica's picture

Plum Cake / Pflaumenkuchen - Got a Recipe?

I am searching for a great plum cake my mother used to make, the recipe has since been lost.  I've been trying to recreate it for 15 years with no luck.  I've make about 9 different recipes and they all suck (compared to mom's).  Most of my mother's best recipes are Jewish, either passed down from my grandmother (from Czechoslovakia) or from the spiral bound Jewish fundraising cookbooks.

My mother's was not too buttery, very tender, moist, about 1 inch thick, and used prune plums cut in half laid side by side, not concentrically.  Ingredients included the usual cake stuff: flour, butter, eggs, vanilla, sugar, baking powder.  When cooked, the juices would run from the plums into the cake.  Powdered sugar was lightly sprinkled on afterwards.

The ones I have made have been too chewy, tough, and some had more of a cookie crust. 



fsu1mikeg's picture

That sounds exactly like the cakes my mother-in-law makes in Germany.  They are delicious.  She also makes the same cake with sour cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, and I'm sure whatever else is fresh at the time.  I don't know the recipe, but it seems like a pretty simple cake as you described.  I know she uses packaged gelatin for the fruit topping to give it that nice jellied texture.  My wife has made it with strawberries a couple times, but she doesn't have the knack unfortunately.  But I'll ask if she knows the exact recipe.

EvaB's picture

This sounds like hte cake I got from a friend's friend and when I asked her what it was called, she said I just call it Polak cake, because my whole family is Polish and that's what we all call it!

4eggs, 4 tablesppons of melted butter, shortening or oil (I've never made it with oil)

1 cup of sugar, 1 and one half cup of flour, beat all together pour onto a jelly roll pan or rimmed cookie sheet,spread with fine bread crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs should work fine) place half plums skin side up or any fruit (have made it with fresh peach quarters) powder with icing sugar Bake 10 minutes at 400F, turn down oven, and bake 20 minutes at 350F .

This is totally decadant and delicious.

whoops's picture

I realize it has been quite a while since you posed your question, but I was askign my mother the same exact question. My mother is German, and when we lived in Germany when I was a child, she used to make the plum cakes. She also made teh Apfelschlupfkuchen, which now, many years later, have kind of melded into the same. cake but different fruit. My motehr dug out her old German cookbook and I copied the recipe for the shlupfkuchen. I have not been able to find the prune plums. I recall my mother also making it with yellow plums, though I can not find them, either. I have looked about a bit, thinking that perhaps Whole Foods or one of the Organic groceries would carry them, but no such luck. My research has led me to believe that the biggest difference between the prune plums (often called Italian Plums) is that they are free stone, so therefor lend themselves to baking with less hassle. Here is the recipe my Mother stated she used for the Schlupfkuchen. One could use any fruit, but we seemed to use apple mostly. It was not that difficult to make. The biggest issue I have is that when Mutti gave it to me, she gave me a pretty wide range of oven temp...and I never can remember which temp I used and for how long. The top shoudl be golden brown, though.

1/2 lb flour

65 gr margaine ( I only use butter)

100 g sugar

2 eggs

1/8 liter milk

lemon zest

1 package baking powder ( I use Dr. Oetkers)

1 1/2 lbs fruit ( I think that is what she said, I just keep filling up the pan with fruit til it doesn't fit anymore)

I just mix everything except the fruit together together, pour in a round cake pan ( I think mine was 9 inches) arrange the fruit slices in the batter and then bake. So, Mutti said bake for 45 minutes at 350-375 degrees F.

Once it has cooled, right before serving, I dust with a little powdered sugar.

Good Luck!


mountaindog's picture

Maybe not the same as your mother's, but my grandmother used to make a plum cake that our entire extended family loved, it was a July 4 tradition in our family. She taught me how to make it as a child, and hers is basically a simple yeasted sweet dough (no baking soda or powder) pressed flat to 1 inch thick into a half sheet pan or jelly roll pan, with fresh or canned purple plums pitted and halved arranged across the top in rows just touching each other, and a little cane sugar sprinkled across the top before baking. The juice from the plums glazed over the surface of the cake as it baked.

Richard Bertinet's sweet dough recipe, found here, would work great in this recipe, it has the same ingredients that Grandma's recipe had.

Next time I make this for our family July 4th reunion, I may use the sourdough cinnamon roll dough rather  than the yeasted sweet dough, I'm sure it would be great in that recipe as well.  Good Luck.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

but it might take me a little time to get it.  Sorry... left that file in Austria.

I can tell you that it's baked in a lined jelly roll pan.  It sounds just like what you're searching for....cake like, 1" high.  One of my favorites.  With exactly your ingredients but oil not butter.  The eggs are separated and whites are beaten stiff followed by yolks one at a time and then oil slowly.  Grated lemon peel is also sometimes added.  The dry ingredients are added and beaten in on low speed.   Spread out the creamy thick dough (resembles marshmallow cream) stay about 1" away from the edges, and start placing plums (I freeze them in season removing the stones) in a row in the middle.  As you place the plums, the dough works to the edges.  I know it as an "Öl Biskuit" recipe. 

I was looking around but haven't found the right recipe, too many cookie like doughs, like you said. 


celestica's picture

I found one here that might do for plum cake, can anyone who has made it describe the flavour/texture?

Grandmother's Apple Cake

5 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup AP flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 medium baking apples

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 10 inch cast iron skillet with cooking oil spray. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the pan.

2. In a bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder.

3. In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla.

4. In an electric mixer, beat the butter with 1/4 cup of sugar for one minute or until light. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Stir in one third of the flour, then one third of the milk. Add the remaining flour and milk in the same way.

5. Use the back of a spoon or your fingertips to spread the batter in the skillet - it will be thick and sticky.

6. Peel and core the apples. Slice them 1/8 inch thick. Starting at the outer edge, arrange the apples on the cake in slightly overlapping concentric circles.

7. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3 tablespoons with the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the apples.

8. Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the apples are tender and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes.

9. With a wide metal spatula , loosen the edges and bottom of the cake from the pan. Place a large plate on top and invert the pan and cake together. Lift off the pan. Place another plate on top of the cake and invert it again, so the cake is right side up. Serve warm

Thanks to Mini oven and the other offer to try and track down recipes, if you send them I will surely try and report back results.




celestica's picture

THough I like Bertinet's recipe, I don't think I'll try the sweet dough because my mom's recipe was not yeasted. 


gosiam's picture

celestica, let me know if the cake your Mom made looks anything like the picture attached:

I will translate the recipe for you if this is what you are looking for.

Many good bakes!!!


celestica's picture

The cake does not look like yours, there is no crumb topping and the texture of the cake looks different...thanks for the offer to translate though.

thathairjen's picture

I was doing a search on google to find a recipe for a German Plum Cake that my Oma used to make. This picture looks exactly like the cake! Do you still have the recipe???

Sorry... Just now found the recipe a little further down.  I can't wait to try this!!!


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The Angels are waiting in the detail.   There are three basic types of Austrian plum cakes (recipes from cherry cakes but using prune plums, or better known as house plums):  yeast type, cookie type, and cake type.  This is a cake type recipe and you will need a mixer.

The "trick" to this batter is with the eggs, they must be beaten until they are not only thick, but light and fluffy.   In other words, cream-the-hell-out-of-them!   This can be done using one of 3 ways: 1) Separate the yokes from the whites, first beating the whites until stiff, set aside. Beat yolks with sugar.  Fold whites into the completed batter.  2) Separate yolks from whites, beat whites until stiff, add yolks one at a time alternating with spoons of sugar.  3) Whole eggs and sugar beaten together at high speed for what seems like a long time (forever).  This is where you find something else to do while the mixer works.  Don't underbeat.   On with the recipe...

Plum Cake  or  Zwetschkenfleck       200°c (400°F)

  • 4 eggs

  • 250g sugar

  • 100g oil or melted butter

  • 100g water (less if including a splash rum and/or vanilla extract)

  • 250g ap flour mixed with

  • 8g (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder

  • 500g fruit, pits removed, cut in 1/2 or 1/4

Cream eggs and sugar using one of 3 methods mentioned above. When it has become light and fluffy, reduce speed and dribble oil slowly into the mixing dough.  Slowly spoon in flour alternately with splashes of water mixing until smooth.  

Spred dough (finger thick) on parchment lined jelly roll pan or edged baking sheet leaving a space (2 cm or 1") around edge as dough will flow to the edge as fruit is applied.  Cover dough with fruit (skins down centers up) starting out in center either in rows or randomly leaving small spaces for dough to swell between fruit.  Bake in pre-heated oven  200°c  or  400°F  until dough is golden brown and fruit is cooked, 30 min?

Sprinkle with powdered sugar cut into squares.  Serve fresh with whip cream.



celestica's picture


Hi Mini, yes, I think this is it.  I just got a bag of frozen whole plums the day before you posted the recipe so if the stars are aligned correctly, it should turn out great.  I will try it very soon, and thanks for digging it up.  These plums won first place at the Castlegar (BC) fall fair, and were picked by my still spry 84 year old neighbour.

Thanks for including the tips, perhaps this is why my cakes were turning out dry and yucky.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds like this will be one heart felt cake so don't forget to take pictures!  If the plums are too hard to cut, let them thaw out.  They do cut better when they're still a little icy.

I can almost smell and taste it!  In fact, I just might bake one myself today.  We just got some snow (what a change from Costa Rica!) and there's nothing like baking warm fruit filling the house with aroma to take the chill off the day.   Hope your neighbor enjoys it too! 


celestica's picture

Hi Mini,


It's been over a year since you sent this recipe to me, and one more season of Italian plums on my neighbour's tree, but I finally made it for a New Year's potluck. I made a second one with frozen wild blackberries.

The directions I used were those of beating the hell out of the eggs for a long time with my new (used) bosch machine. 

The results were amazing and even my friend from Czechoslovakia said it was just like home.



lkarner's picture


Would you mind posting your recipe for this cake?  Thank you.  Linda

gosiam's picture

Hello Linda, sorry for the delay, but it was just today that I found out you requested the recipe.  Here it goes... original source:

The cake is soft, fragrant, delicate and incrediblly moist... also very easy to make.

Cake starter:

  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup tepid milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp sugar

Final dough:

  • 1/2 cup tepid milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • grated lemon peel from half a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tb (or half a stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2  3/4 cup flour
  • 1 kg italian plums, halved and stones removed

Crumb topping:

  • 180 g flour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 16 g vanilla sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the starter: Combine milk and yeast in a fairly large bowl.  Stir to dissolve.  Add flour and sugar.  Mix well.  Cover and leave to rise until doubled in volume.


For the final dough: Once the starter doubles, add all the remaining ingredients and knead until the dough becomes soft and elastic.  Again, cover and leave to rise until doubled in volume.


For the crumb topping:  As the dough rises, prepare the crumb.  Mix flour, sugars, cinnamon. Pour melted, hot butter and mix well until crumbly topping forms.

Prepare a large baking sheet (40 x 30cm ) lined with parchment.  Spread the risen dough (it will be a fairly thin dough layer).  Arrange the plum halfs fitting them tightly (cut side up).  Spread the crumble on top and leave to proof for 30 minutes.

Bake in 180°C, preheated oven, for approximately 45 minutes,  but the length can vary drastically.  Watch the dough carefully, allow to bake until golden in colour and the stick inserted into a thick part of the dough comes out dry.



lkarner's picture

Hello Gosia,

Thank you so very much for posting this recipe for me.  It looks like the cake my grandmother used to make.  I so appreciate your taking the time to post it for me.


gosiam's picture

Please let me know how it turned out.  The Italian plums are still not in season here, I will have to wait a little longer for my share.


lkarner's picture

Hi Gosia,

We don't have the Italian plums here yet either but when they are in and I make your cake, I'll let you know how it comes out for me.  My husband is from Austria so he's looking forward to this!!


Yerffej's picture


This recipe caught my attention and is now on my list of things to make. 

I assume that you are originally from Poland? Yes?  If so, where in Poland are you from?


gosiam's picture

Hi Jeff, yes I am Polish, presently living in Canada.  I come from the western part of Poland (Poznan, Wroclaw), fairly close to German border, with strong German influences.  The cake however can be found pretty much all over Europe - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, also Italy, and in Scandinavia - each with its local flavour and tradition. 

I made this cake three times in Canada, and not once had it the taste I recalled from home.  I went to Poland this summer and talked my Mom into making it (she is a wonderful baker), and it was fantastic.  I believe flour makes a big difference.  The closest to the original was my Canadian attempt made with plain unbleached flour, 11.4% protein content.

Hope this helps.



pattycakes's picture

This cake adapts beautifully to any fruit and is a snap to make. As Mini points out, the eggs must be beaten with the sugar until they are thickened. I have made this with chocolate and nuts, pineapple, drained morello cherries in the jar from Trader Joe's, peaches, and yes, plums! It's not too sweet and has the virtue of using olive oil (you won't even know it).




Adapted from Faith Willinger, Epicurious

Altitude adjusted to Santa Fe--use a little more baking powder and 1 less egg for sea level, or go to for the original recipe.


1 ½ cups sliced fruit (or 4 oz. Chopped bittersweet chocolate) (Trader Joe’s jarred morello cherries, drained)


¾ cup cake flour

½  t. baking powder

pinch of salt

3 eggs

½ cup sugar, plus 2 T.

¼ t. finely grated lemon zest

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup milk

½ t. balsamic vinegar


Preheat oven to 375º.


Line bottom of a 10-inch-diameter springform pan with parchment paper, brush with oil and lightly flour.


Toss fruit with 1 T. of sugar and reserve.


Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and reserve.


Beat the eggs with the ½ cup of sugar and lemon zest until light, fluffy and pale.


Add the olive oil, then milk and balsamic vinegar, beating well.


Fold the wet mix into the dry and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drop the fruit evenly over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining T. of sugar.


Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


6-8 servings.




Sabinka's picture

Thank you Gosia so much for sharing your Recipe.  I never got any of my Mother's recipes as she never wrote them down.  This brings back some wonderful memories of eating this cake.

My mother was born in Szamotuly and I still relatives there.  Also, have relatives in Poznan and all over Poland.


Sabinka x

silkenpaw's picture

I'm another Polish expat, living in Miami, FL, USA. My family is from near Warsaw and there are plenty of them still there. I enjoy visiting them.

Luckily my mother and aunt taught me many of my favorite recipes, so I can recreate them. They don't taste the same as they did in Poland, though :(

Pozdrawiam cieplo,





Sabinka's picture

Hi Magda, my parents came to Australia in 1949.  I was born in Australia, but have visited Poland on a couple of occasions, so unfortunately I cannot read in Polish.  Yes, the food is excellent in Poland.

Thank you for your kind words.

Kind regards,


AnnaInMD's picture

especially with the Streusel topping with loads of butter :)    Can't wait for the fresh plums.