Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Traditional German Pflaumenkuchen

Summer time in Germany…one of the first things that springs to mind is the taste of fresh fruit on a large baking tray of soft pastry. Mmmmmm! Apart from German bread, the large traditional German fruit cakes score high on the list of things I miss/love most about Germany.

After I discovered how simple it is to find fresh yeast in this lovely city, I had absolutely no more excuses not to treat my roomies to a beautiful traditional plum cake. I’ve had a recipe for Pflaumenkuchen in my recipe book for so long now, the time has finally come for me to give it a crack.

Preparing the pastry…so much fun! Watching the yeasty dough double twice in size, it felt like a big accomplishment. J One of those feelings that every person with a baking passion will get the first time they make this one work. And oh the smell of fresh yeast! It took me back to my childhood days when my mom would be preparing such dough in the kitchen. I have very fond memories of wanting to eat it every time but was repeatedly told that it would make my tummy hurt too much because “the dough actually expands in your tummy”. Probably very true and I have no intention of trying this now as I am MUCH more excited for the final outcome. 

The cake turned out beautifully. Both my grandma’s in Germany would’ve been proud! I’m already dreaming up the next one …an apple crumble combination on the same pastry.

Tip: Make sure you use ripe plums. It makes the cake a lot sweeter and juicier. 


1.5kg plums
500gr flour
100gr butter
75gr white sugar
30gr fresh yeast
250ml milk (luke warm)
1 egg
1 tspn salt

Vanilla Custard:
500ml milk
1 pckt vanilla pudding

250ml crème fraiche
125ml fresh cream
1-2 egg whites
2 Tbspn oil
1 packet vanilla sugar
2 Tbspn sugar

1/ Lightly warm the milk in the microwave. Add one tspn of sugar and the yeast and slowly let it dissolve.
2/ Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Create a crater in the center. Carefully pour the milk/yeast mixture into the crater. Cover the bowl and place in a warm spot for 10minutes.
3/ Add the remaining ingredients into the bowl and knead thoroughly until the dough easily separates from your fingers.
4/ De-stone and slice the plums into quarters (or 1/8’s depending on how finely you want to layer the plums slices).
5/ Heat 500ml of milk, in which you dissolve the packet of vanilla pudding with a whisk to remove all clumps. Whisk until you reach a thicker consistency. Take it off the heat, set aside and let cool.
6/ Roll the dough onto a greased baking tray. Form a slightly elevated borders on all edges and poke with a fork (about a dozen times).
7/ Spread the vanilla pudding over the dough to completely cover.
8/ Layer the plum slices (scale-wise) onto the vanilla spread and lightly press into the dough.
9/ Beat the cream in a small bowl. Beat the egg whites in a separate small bowl. Fold the cream into the egg whites and add the remaining topping ingredients. Spread this mixture over the plums and make sure not to let it drip down the sides (the slightly elevated border should prevent this).
10/ Bake for approximately 25min at 175°C.

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