Pflaumenkuchen is a traditional German coffee cake. I don’t mean that it contains coffee, but that, like most German cakes, it is a fairly dry cake and meant to be eaten with coffee (or tea, if you’re a non-coffee drinker like me). My mom made this at least once every summer. The important thing to know is that the dough is just a standard sweet yeast cake base & can be used for any soft fruit – we often made a version of this with peaches. As you can see, I added some blackberries to the version I made. It’s also important to know that, though it is a cake because it’s sweet, it is really a dough, so if you make it, don’t expect it to look like a traditional English or American cake batter. It’s much more like bread dough.
It’s not normally vegan, but as the person I share the allotment with is now vegan, I thought I’d give it a go, and it turned out pretty well. The original recipe is in German if you’re interested. Google also turns up a fair few English language results for non-vegan Pflaumenkuchen if my recipe is too relaxed for you. I made one significant change to the recipe (apart from ingredients), and that is that the original makes the recipe in 2 steps, whereas I just made it in one.
I’m afraid I also haven’t been very precise in the liquid measurements. This is because I forgot to measure the extra water I added, sorry! You see, the original recipe uses 250 mL of milk, but I failed to take into account that soy milk is a little thicker than regular milk, so I had to add a small amount of extra water to make up for this as the dough was too dry. You will want to keep an eye on the dough throughout so you can do the same. When I say too dry, I mean it wasn’t coming together as a dough, that there was still flour that couldn’t be incorporated because there wasn’t enough liquid.
You’ll see at the end that this makes a pretty massive cake, so it’s definitely one to bring into work or make for a gathering.
500 g plain flour
35 g yeast
80 g caster sugar
250 mL unsweetened soy milk, plus approx 50 mL water, lukewarm
8 tblsp oil (I used sunflower)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
approx 1.2 kg plums, quartered. The juicier, the better.
Cinnamon, to taste
Oats crumbled with margarine & brown sugar (optional)
Plum jam (optional)
In a bowl, make a well out of the flour. In the middle, add the soy milk & yeast. Mix the yeast & soy milk together, and let rest 5 minutes, until slightly foamy. Add the sugar and salt, then start to blend together. It will be very sticky and very messy! At any point, if the mixture seems dry, add extra water (slowly). Mix together until smooth but thick. This resembles bread dough more than it does standard cake batter. Add the oil, and knead it in. The oil goes a long way toward softening the dough, so don’t worry if it feels a little tough before this step. Knead until the dough is smooth. Put the dough in a warm place, and let it rest until doubled in size.
If you have a bread machine, you can use the dough setting to make the dough instead of doing it by hand. Just look in every now and then to make sure the dough isn’t too dry.
While resting, preheat the oven to 200º C. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or grease the sheet.
Once the dough has doubled, knock it back and spread it over the baking sheet. Arrange the plum quarters to cover the dough, leaving a border of around 3/4 in. Sprinkle with cinnamon and oats to taste. I recommend lots of oats! Glaze with melted plum jam, or any other sugar-based glaze (a simple syrup of water & sugar will do fine, as will honey) of your choice.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until evenly browned around the edges. Ignore the fact that mine isn’t evenly browned at all (a little bit of burned cake never hurt anyone, right?), and enjoy yours!
A German would probably never have it with cream, but it is a nice addition. I made this because I was homesick, and I even used my Oma’s cake fork when eating it. Homesickness eased.
If you do try this, let me know how it turns out. I’d love to see how it works for others!