This recipe for a German Plum Crumble Cake is an easy, no-yeast cake that you can make with fresh plums. It features a delectable crisp and buttery crumb topping instead of a frosting or glaze.
This Plum Crumble Cake Recipe is a German cake recipe with a buttery streusel that doesn't require a yeast dough.
It's such a simple yet delicious cake to make and is topped with a crispy nut-free streusel topping instead of a frosting.
This fresh fruit cake isn't overly sweet, making it the perfect cake to serve for breakfast, brunch, dessert, or any time of day.
Plus, half-German Mr. Savvy assures me it tastes, and smells, just like Oma would make back in Germany, which I find to be the best compliment.
German Plum Cake Ingredients and Substitutions
- Italian Plums - These are also known as prune plums or Italian prune plums. This cake is best with these types of plums but you can use other kinds as listed below if you don't have access to them.
You can also use other kinds of fruit in this cake, preferably ones that keep their shape when cooked like cherries, apples, peaches, and other stone fruit.
- All-purpose flour - I used King Arthur flour.
I haven't tried making this cake gluten-free but I think you should be able to use popular gluten-free baking mixes as per package directions if needed for both the cake and crumble topping.
- Baking powder
- Salt - I use fine sea salt
- White sugar - If you have vanilla sugar, it will add even more delicious flavor.
I haven't tested it, but sugar substitutes such as a monk fruit blend should work fine in both the cake and streusel.
- Vanilla paste - I've been an a vanilla paste kick lately but you can use an equal amount of vanilla extract instead. Almond extract would also be lovely.
- Lemon zest - You might be tempted to skip this ingredient but it does add a nice fresh flavor boost that really makes this a wonderful cake. Fresh is preferred, but you can also use dried or frozen lemon peel.
- Butter - I used unsalted Kerrygold butter. Keep in mind that if you use salted butter, you'll want to decrease, if not completely leave out, the additional salt in the recipe.
- Cinnamon - This spice helps add a bit of extra flavor to the streusel but it doesn't taste overly cinnamon-y. Mr. Savvy isn't a huge fan of cinnamon flavors and prefers the streusel to have just a bit of cinnamon.
You could use pumpkin or apple pie spice instead if that's what you have.
- Cooking spray - I use this baking spray but you can use something like Pam as well.
- Optional garnish ideas - The cake is great on its own but if you want to truly take it oven the top, consider garnishing the cake with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream when serving.
- Paring knife - I think this is a must have for slicing the plums.
- 9-inch Springform pan - Since this is a single layer cake, I like using a springform pan so you don't really have to worry about any sticking or turning out the cake and damaging the gorgeous streusel.
If you don't have a springform, you could use a 9-inch cake pan. It will just be a bit harder to serve.
- Mixer - This recipe is a bit much to make by hand, so I do suggest using either a stand mixer or hand mixer.
- Zester - This is my favorite grater for zesting and also grating butter and cheese.
- Measuring spoons and measuring cups
- Spatula - My favorite baking spatulas for spreading batters and getting as much as possible out of the mixing bowl.
- Pot holder - As someone that has burned themselves plenty of times getting things out of the oven, please invest in a good quality pot holder.
- Cooling rack
- Pie server - Also works great for cakes slices.
How to Make Pflaumenkuchen (Plum Cake)
1. Preheat your oven and pit and slice the fresh prune plums.
2. Mix together the dry ingredients: combine flour, baking powder, and salt together briefly with a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, butter, and eggs to the flour mixture. Mix for about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl after about 1 minute. It will be a thick batter.
3. Prepare your springform pan with baking spray while the batter mixes. You can also use parchment paper if you'd like
4. Once the batter is mixed, spread it as evenly as possible in the springform pan.
5. Place the plum wedges on top of the batter.
6. Prepare the streusel by mixing together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and butter until large crumbs form.
7. Place the crumbs on top of the plums, then bake the cake for about 45 minutes and the crumbs are very lightly golden brown.
8. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then release the edge of the springform pan and allow the cake to completely cool to room temperature before serving.
Make sure to scroll down to see a printable version of this homemade plum cake recipe.
Do I Have to use Italian Plums?
Italian plums are an European-style plum and are also known as prune plums. The look quite different from the plums usually found in the states, with more of an oblong shape and dark purple skin that often looks cloudy.
I hadn't even heard of them until I looked into testing cake recipes when Mr. Savvy requested an easy German plum cake.
Italian plums are definitely the ones used in any traditional German plum cake recipe. However, there's a limited plum season of around late August into September and can be hard to find in the states.
This year (2021) I was able to find them at Publix and Whole Foods.
If you can find them and want to enjoy this cake throughout the year with the Italian plums I would definitely suggest getting extra plums to either freeze themselves or to make extra cakes with and then freeze the cakes, which I think would hold up better than the frozen fruit.
That said, if you can't find Italian plums, you can certainly use whatever you can find.
Since American plums tend to be larger, you'll likely need to slice each plum into 6 to 8 slices instead of 4. American plums also release more juice when baking, so I wouldn't add quite as many to the cake so it doesn't become too soggy.
How to Pit Plums
The nice thing about using Italian plums is that they are very easy to pit.
I simply use a paring knife and cut around the diameter of the plum, through the area that the stem is attached, like I'm cutting it in half. Then make the same cut in the other direction, cutting it into fourths as you need for this recipe.
Usually the pit will then only be attached to one section and easily be pulled apart.
If you're using plums you commonly find in the USA I find it easiest to cut the plum in half as above, twist it open, and then cut the half that has the pit into 2 to 4 slices, until the pit can easily be twisted off.
How to Store or Freeze Plum Cake
If you're going to consume the entire cake within 24 hours of it being baked, you can leave it at room temperature. Be sure to cover it once it has cooled.
If you're not going to finish the cake within 24 hours I would suggest covering it and refrigerating it for up to 3 days.
I found that even on day 3 the streusel held up well, but if you find yours is soggy, you can wrap it in foil and warm at 350°F until it has crisped back up.
You can also easily freeze this cake, especially since the prune plums have such a short season, so you can enjoy this cake year round.
I recommend letting the cake cool completely after baking, then tightly wrapping it in first plastic wrap, and then foil before placing in the freezer.
To thaw, place it in the refrigerator overnight. The cake may not be quite as crispy after freezing, but you should be able to crisp it back up a bit as noted above.
More German Recipes
- 1.5 - 2 pounds fresh Italian plums
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs, preferably room temperature
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pit and slice 1 ½ - 2 pounds fresh plums into quarters (or more if using large plums) and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or hand mixer, add 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Run on low for about 10 seconds to mix. Add ¾ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, ½ cup softened butter, and 2 large eggs. Mix on low to combine, and then increase the speed to medium-high and beat about 2 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- While the cake batter is mixing, spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking or baking spray and set aside. Once the batter is done mixing, evenly spread it into the prepared pan.
- Top the batter with the sliced plums, lightly pressing them into the batter. It doesn’t have to look picture perfect because it will be covered with streusel, but you want to try to have an even amount of plums in every bite.
- To make the streusel, use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer and place the 1 cup flour, ½ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ cup softened butter in the bowl. Mix everything together, starting on low until mostly combined and increasing the speed to medium, mixing until large, clumpy crumbs have formed. This should take about 1 minute.
- Spread the crumbs on top of the plums as evenly as possible. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 - 50 minutes, until the crumbs are slightly golden.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Then release the edge of the springform pan, running a knife along the edge if needed. Let the cake cool completely to room temperature before serving.
- Add a dollop of whipped cream (our favorite) or scoop of vanilla ice cream when serving, if desired.
Leftovers can be left covered at room temperature if finishing the entire cake within 24 hours of baking. Otherwise it is suggested to cover and refrigerate the cake for up to 3 days.
Please see the original article at: for ingredient substitutions and tips to make this cake at https://smartsavvyliving.com
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 225mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 2gSugar: 32gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information may not be accurate. Optional garnishes and toppings aren't included. Nutrition information is calculated automatically by and provided by Nutritionix. Exact nutrition information depends on the specific ingredients, brands, and amounts you use.