Plum Kuchen

This plum kuchen is essentially an easy crumb cake. A German classic, we welcome it as breakfast, brunch, onesies, dessert, midnight nosh…heck, there’s no time of day or night that we don’t welcome it.

Plum Kuchen

This plum kuchen is essentially a German crumb cake although you’ll see that, curiously, it comes together more like a bread than a cake. Whatever the lovely dessert’s proper nomenclature, we guarantee any bickering over what it should be called will be silenced when you set it on the table. We’ve had it as breakfast, brunch, dessert, and a midnight nosh, and quite frankly, we can’t image a time of day or night when it wouldn’t be welcome.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Plum Kuchen

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 4 H, 30 M
  • Serves 8 to 10
Print RecipeBuy the Summer Berries & Autumn Fruits cookbook

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  • For the cake
  • 9 tablespoons (4 1/2 ounces/128 grams) unsalted butter, diced and softened, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (132 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 ounce (7 grams) fast-action dried yeast
  • A good pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) sour cream or buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds (568 grams) plums, washed and dried (about 4)
  • For the streusel
  • 1/4 cup (53 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (53 grams) dark or light brown sugar
  • A good pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, melted


  • Make the cake
  • 1. Butter an 8-inch (20-cm) square cake pan and line the bottom and sides with buttered parchment paper, allowing the parchment to hang over the sides of the pan.
  • 2. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until 110°F (43°C) or a shade warmer than body temperature. Do not let the milk even come close to boiling.
  • 3. Put the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, yeast, and salt and mix with a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine. Make a well in the middle.
  • 4. In a bowl or large measuring glass, combine the sour cream or buttermilk, whole egg, yolk, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Pour the warm milk into the mixer bowl, add the sour cream mixture and softened butter, and knead on medium speed for 4 to 6 minutes, until you have a silky smooth dough.
  • 5. Scoop the dough into the prepared pan and spread level using a palette knife. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and either let the dough rise slowly overnight in the fridge or for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. The dough may not rise appreciably or it may double in size. Either way is okay.
  • 6. If you have left the dough overnight in the fridge, bring it to room temperature before proceeding to the next stage.
  • 7. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190°C).
  • Make the streusel
  • 8. Mix the sugars, salt, cinnamon, and flour in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and stir well to combine—the mixture should start to form large clumps. Scatter 1/3 over the top of the cake. Cut the plums into quarters or sixths, depending on size, and arrange the slices on top. Scatter the remaining streusel over the plums.
  • 9. Bake the streuselkuchen on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. The dough should be puffed to the top of the pan. Reduce the heat to 350ºF (177°C) and bake until the cake is risen, the streusel golden and crisp, the fruit tender, and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes more. Let the kuchen cool in the pan until warm or room temperature before slicing. (It’s best eaten on the day of making but will reheat well if wrapped in foil and placed in a warm oven for a few minutes.)

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