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German Plum Cake

This German Plum Cake with buttery streusel topping is the perfect cake to bake with fresh summer fruit! It’s a tender coffee cake that’s easily made from scratch and sure to be a hit!!

slice of plum cake on white plate with whole cake in the background.

Why you’ll love this recipe

There are a few varieties of German Plum cakes. Some are made type is made with yeast dough, others are made with shortcrust pastry and some like this one are made with cake batter. And the streusel topping is optional but adds extra deliciousness!!

While plum season is in full swing, it’s time to make this wonderful cake. It’s hard to beat this cake with its topping of juicy plums and buttery streusel.

German plum cake is perfect for brunch or dessert topped with homemade mascarpone cream, cream or vanilla mascarpone ice cream.

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.

Ingredient notes

ingredients for german plum cake.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the most easiest but also delicious German Plum cake.

  • Plums – all varieties work here but not too ripe or they’ll turn to mush. Traditionally, Italian plums (my fav!) are used but I haven’t found those in years. Dark red plums look like jewels nestled in the cake but yellow plums are delicate and light;
  • Plain all purpose flour, baking powder, unsalted butter, sugar, egg, milk and salt – the usual ingredients you’ll find in cake batters;
  • Lemon zest – the zing and freshness is perfect paired with the sweet tang of fresh plums and is so delicious in baking recipes!! Just check out these recipe to see how good it is -> Lemon Yogurt Cake, Crostata di Marmellata and Strawberry Crostata; and
  • Ground cinnamon – for the streusel topping.

Variations

Other fruits also work well in this cake. Keep in mind that any fruit used should be ripe but still firm. Why not try these variations:-

  • apricots
  • peaches
  • cherries

If you love cakes with summer fruit, be sure to try my Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake. It’s so popular!

Instructions

Using a hand held, electric mixer makes this cake really easy. You could use a wooden spoon to beat the butter and sugar if you don’t mind a bit of manual work!

6 step photo collage showing how to make german plum cake.

Firstly, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

  1. Beat butter then add sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and egg.
  2. Alternatively add flour mixture and milk to make a smooth batter. Spread into a greased springform pan.
  3. Pit and slice the plums into eighths.
  4. Arrange plums on cake batter
  5. Rub butter into flour, sugar, ground cinnamon and salt to form a crumbly streusel topping.
  6. Sprinkle streusel topping over plums and bake until golden.

Tips for success and FAQ’s

german plum cake on black wire rack viewed from above.

Tips for success and FAQ’s

This cake is simple but there are a few tips that will ensure your German plum cake turns out perfectly!

Firstly have butter and egg for cake batter at room temperature, that way the butter and sugar beats up nice and fluffy and the egg incorporates well.

Then it’s important to choose great plums. As noted above, Italian prune plums are the traditional choice for this cake but a just ripe, tangy plum will be an excellent option. Whichever plums you use, make sure you pack the slices in to maximum flavor. If plums are small, you may need more.

Finally, streusel topping shouldn’t be overworked. Use cool but not cold, hard butter. Just rub the butter in until the ingredients form a knobbly, crumbly mixture.

How do you pit a plum?

Cut the plum in half along the natural line then twist to separate. Using a knife remove the pit, then slice into quarters or eighths.

Can this German Plum cake be frozen?

Yes! Wrap well in plastic wrap and heavy-duty foil then freeze for up to 3 months.

Can this recipe be doubled?

If you need larger quantities, I recommend you use two 9inch/22cm springform pans rather than one larger pan.

How do I store leftover cake?

Leftover cake should be stored in a covered container at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator for two days.

slice of plum cake on white plate with gold fork.

More recipes you’ll love

Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake
Pear Tea Cake
Cannoli Cake
Chocolate Cake with Caramel

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This updated recipe was first published on April 20, 2017.

Wedge of plum cake on white plate with gold fork and whole cake in the background.

German Plum Cake Recipe

This tender coffee cake has buttery streusel topping that's easily made from scratch with fresh summer plums!
5 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings:12 servings
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 ½ cup (200 grams) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick/85 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • cup (67 grams) granulated white sugar
  • finely grated zest of a lemon
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • cup milk

Topping

  • 6 plums or enough plums of your choice to cover the dough, cut into wedges
  • ½ cup (62 grams) plain all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick/57 grams) unsalted butter cool but not cold
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven 400ºF/200ºC and grease and line the base of a 9  inch (22cm) springform cake pan
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until smooth.
  • Add the sugar and beat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and egg and beat well.
  • On low speed, alternately add flour mixture and milk on low speed (end with flour). Mix until just smooth.
  • Spread the batter over the base of the baking pan using the back of a spoon.
  • Arrange the plums decoratively over the dough.
  • Put flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt into a bowl (it's fine to use the bowl you made the cake in without cleaning it). Rub the butter into the other ingredients forming a crumbly streusel.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Always adjust cooking time if your oven is hotter or cooler.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before unclipping the sides of the springform pan and removing carefully. Cool for at least another 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm.

Notes

Tips for success
  • Have butter and egg for cake batter at room temperature.
  • Use just ripe, tangy plums.
  • Pack in lots of plums for maximum fruity flavor.
  • If plums are small, you may need more.
  • Don’t overwork the streusel topping otherwise you’ll end up with a dough instead of a crumbly mixture.
This German Plum Cake as been adapted from Greg Patent’s wonderful cookbook A Baker’s Odyssey.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 222kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 437IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This plumcake my German mother in law used to make when plums were in season. Loved it. As plums are in season I am definitely going to bake this cake for my family. Thank you for the recipe

    1. Such a lovely memory, Paula! I love this version, which is adapted from the cookbook of a friend on mine, Greg Patent. Hope you enjoy it too!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this over the weekend and just wanted to say a big thanks! I love the subtle cake flavour and the hit of cinnamon in the struesel, a very nice combination of everything and not so ridiculously sweet (I barely adjusted the sugar and it wasn’t needed!)

    Your instructions were so clear and although I was worried about how thick my batter was, I stuck with it and so glad I didn’t change it. I also used demerara sugar in the struesel as I like the added crunch and oat milk instead of normal milk. This was delicious served warm with a bit of custard (oat-based for me). I also used a 7″ pan as that’s all I had at home – the struesel was a bit thicker, but I don’t mind that 😉

    I am saving this recipe to make again and already bookmarked a heap of your other recipes. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Thanks Tracey! Yes, the batter is fairly thick – that’s how it should be. So glad you enjoyed and you’re right, this plum cake is not super sweet.

        1. Hi Lorie. No, the batter will spread on a cookie sheet. You’ll need a cake pan of some sort. I’ll like a springform pan because it’s easier to remove the cake.

          1. My German Tante Rose used to make this, without the streusel topping, in a rimmed sheet pan. That is how I make it, using this recipe, as I never got the recipe from Rose before she passed. It works beautifully, but needs much less time in the oven. Having a thin bit of cake with juicy plum in every bite is the delectable and the only way I’d make it! But a rim of some kind is certainly needed!

  3. I made this cake today and it was delicious! The warm tarty plums, the cake was light with a hint of lemon, and the streusel topping was yummy. The perfect cake for afternoon tea. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe Marcellina!

  4. I love both shortbread and yeast dough versions, either way, the best part is the streusel 🙂 Yours looks authentic and very tempting