German Plum cake – Zwetschgenkuchen

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The Ultimate Guide to Zetschgenkuchen: Traditional German Plum Cake with Streusel Topping

Embark on a culinary adventure with Zetschgenkuchen, a traditional German plum cake that boasts a rich history and an exquisite taste. In this post, we will unveil the origins of this scrumptious dessert, guide you through our delectable recipe complete with a heavenly streusel topping, and share expert tips to help you achieve baking perfection. So, let’s dive into the delightful world of Zetschgenkuchen!

The Timeless Charm of Zetschgenkuchen

Dating back to the Middle Ages, Zetschgenkuchen has been a beloved dessert in German cuisine. As plums were widely available and enjoyed in Germany, they became the star ingredient of this cake. Over the years, the recipe has evolved, but the love for this fruity, sweet masterpiece remains strong.

Expert tips to help you create the perfect German Plum Cake

  1. Choose the right plums: Opt for Italian prune plums, also known as “Zwetschgen” or “Zetschgen” in Germany. These plums have a firm texture and are not overly juicy, making them ideal for baking.
  2. Prepare the plums correctly: Make sure to wash, pit, and slice the plums into quarters before placing them onto the cake. This will ensure even baking and distribution of the fruit throughout the dessert.
  3. Allow the yeast dough to rise properly: Give the dough enough time to rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size. This will result in a soft, tender, and airy cake.
  4. Keep an eye on the streusel texture: When making the streusel topping, ensure that you achieve a crumbly texture by using cold butter and not overworking the mixture. This will help create the desired crisp and crunchy texture when baked.
  5. Use a baking sheet: Baking the cake on a sheet ensures even heat distribution and a uniform texture throughout. Make sure to grease the baking sheet well to prevent sticking.
  6. Don’t overbake: Keep an eye on the cake while it’s in the oven. Bake it until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Overbaking can lead to a dry and tough cake.
  7. Let the cake cool slightly: Allow the cake to cool for a bit on a wire rack before serving. This will help set the structure and make it easier to cut and serve.
  8. Serve with optional garnishes: For added flavor and presentation, consider serving the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. These accompaniments can enhance the overall taste and make the dessert even more enjoyable.

Reasons why you will love this German Plum Cake

  1. Unique flavor combination: The tartness of the Italian prune plums balances beautifully with the sweetness of the cake and streusel topping, creating a delightful and unique flavor profile that will have your taste buds dancing.
  2. Scrumptious streusel topping: The buttery, crumbly streusel topping adds a delightful contrast in texture and an extra layer of flavor to the cake. The cinnamon in the topping gives a hint of warm spice that complements the plums perfectly.
  3. Perfect for various occasions: This versatile dessert is ideal for casual gatherings, family dinners, or special occasions. It’s a great way to showcase seasonal plums and impress your guests with a delicious, homemade treat.
  4. Easy to make: While the recipe involves a few steps, it is easy to follow and doesn’t require any special equipment or advanced baking skills. The recipe is approachable for bakers of all experience levels.
  5. Traditional and authentic: If you’re a fan of German cuisine or simply love trying new recipes from around the world, this cake offers an authentic taste of a beloved traditional German dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries.
  6. Crowd-pleaser: With its soft, tender yeast dough, juicy plum filling, and irresistible streusel topping, this cake is sure to become a hit among your friends and family. It’s a great dessert option to satisfy various palates and preferences.
German Plum Cake
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German Plum Cake - Zwetschgenkuchen

Savor Zetschgenkuchen: German plum cake & streusel.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Rising Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 20 minutes
Course: Baking
Cuisine: Austrian, Bavarian, German
Keyword: Baking, Plum Cake
Servings: 15 servings
Calories: 323kcal


  • 1 large Baking Sheet 18 x 13 inches



  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter room temperature
  • 1 cup Milk lukewarm
  • 1 package Active Dry Yeast 2 ¼ tsp.
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp. Salt


  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Unsalted Butter cold
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon


  • 2 lb. Prune Plums


  • Prepare the yeast dough: In a large bowl, mix 3 cups of flour, ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup of butter, and salt. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk and let it rest for 5 minutes. Add milk mixture, eggs, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture. Combine until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
    3 cups All-Purpose Flour, ½ cup Granulated Sugar, 1 cup Milk, 1 package Active Dry Yeast, 2 large Eggs, 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract, ½ tsp. Salt, ½ cup Unsalted Butter
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a large baking sheet.
  • Prepare the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of flour, ½ cup sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in ½ cup of cold butter using a pastry cutter or your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    1 cup All-Purpose Flour, ½ cup Granulated Sugar, ½ cup Unsalted Butter, 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • Prepare the plums: Wash, pit, and slice the plums into quarters.
    2 lb. Prune Plums
  • Assemble the cake: Once the dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle approximately the size of your baking sheet. Transfer the dough to the greased baking sheet, pressing it gently into the corners and edges.
  • Arrange the plum quarters on top of the dough in rows, skin side up, slightly overlapping.
  • Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the plums.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool slightly on a wire rack.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy your delicious German Plum Cake with Streusel Topping (Zetschgenkuchen)!


Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg

This Post Has 5 Comments


    The list of ingredients for the dough shows 1/2 cup butter but the instructions don’t say how or when it’s to be added.


    Is it to be melted? Cut into the flour? The unedited recipe called for cold or chilled butter.


    I’m anxious to try your recipe. Konditorei Lutz, supposedly the best German bakery in Chicago, slathers theirs with a starch-thickened, red glaze that ruins it. The plums are completely overpowered.

  4. Michael Jung

    Please don’t melt the butter, just add room-temperature butter to the flour and knead until fully incorporated.

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