Down the street and around the corner is our 85 year old neighbour whose prune plum tree towers above the house and all the other fruit trees sprinkled around the backyard. Mom and I headed out in the heat of the afternoon with buckets and a box to scale the tree and pick ourselves silly while our neighbours dog “helped” us by eating most of the plums that fell from the tree and her kitty rolled around in the dirt looking for a belly rub. It didn’t take long before everything we brought was full to the brim with beautiful little purple plums because the tree was just LOADED with them.
Since this recipe is one of two traditional german plum kuchen (cakes) that my Oma and Mom make this time of year I figured it was time for me to try my hand at it… until I realized the recipe is written entirely in German. So instead of making it myself, Mom and I baked the afternoon away while I re-created the recipe. Soon we were piling into the car with my man to spread a little plum cake love with his family over afternoon tea. I swear it tastes better when you get to experience others enjoying it too. 🙂
Although best made with fresh plums, this cake can also be made with frozen and thawed plums to bring some August warmth to a cold, winter day.
Traditional Plum Spelt Cake (Zwetschgenkuchen)
- 500 g organic all purpose, unbleached spelt flour also known as white spelt flour
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 100 g organic sugar
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 250 ml cold milk
- 50 g butter
- 1 large egg whisked
- 1.5 kg Italian prune plums
- 3 tbsp organic sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 100 g sliced almonds optional
- whipping cream optional
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, then remove it from the heat and whisk in the cold milk. Add the egg and whisk to combine. Test the temperature of the liquid with your finger, it should be slightly warm but not hot. Let cool until warm if needed. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together. Transfer it to working surface and knead gently until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise until double in volume (approximately 1 hour at 22 degrees room temperature).
In another large bowl, pit the plums, slice them each into quarters lengthwise and set aside.
Grease the bottom and sides of a large baking sheet with butter and then lightly dust the bottom of the pan with sifted flour. Move the pan around to cover all the butter with flour and then shake the pan over the sink to remove any excess flour. Set aside.
Flour a work surface and roll the dough out evenly to the approximate size of the baking sheet. Fold the dough in half and gently slide it onto the pan. Gently press the dough into the corners of the pan if needed. Arrange the plums skin side down and side by side to fill the entire pan. Allow the dough to rise a second time for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Remove from the oven, mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the plums then sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Broil for 2 minutes until the almonds are toasted. Remove and let cool slightly before serving. Best served with a dollop of whipped cream!
1. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on the oven rack below the baking sheet to help keep the dough from burning (only needed if you have a crazy electric oven like I do).