How to make a German Plum Cake Zwetschgenkuchen (with Streusel!)

Seems like whenever you are invited to coffee in a German household in Summertime, you will find a German Plum Cake on the table. Such a wonderful summertime dessert… a bit tart, a bit sweet, delicious to eat… nice enough for a Sunday Coffee… but easy enough for every day.

It’s even Yummy for Breakfast…

So… I’m walking through Costco on my bi-monthly stock-up-on-fruit trip… and I spotted Italian Prune Plums, which are excellent for German Plum Cake. They are super flavorful, a bit tart, firm, and bake up really nice. Perfect. I tossed them in my cart, went home, and started baking Pflaumenkuchen.

The cake I baked…. didn’t even last the day.

german plum cake

Italian Prune Plums (Zwetschen) OR???

I love to use Italian Plums, because they are not overly juicy. HOWEVER, it can be tricky to find them sometimes. (They are longer than round… and are sometimes labeled “prune plums”. IF YOU CAN’T FIND THEM- You can use other plums… but it’s better to use plums that feel firm, otherwise you can end up with a big mess while cutting them up. You can substitute any stone fruit like peaches or apricots… even frozen or canned! I’ve also made this cake with blueberries (just substitute 2 pounds of berries for 2 pounds of plums) it works fine.

If you use other plums (or juicy peaches) it’s a good idea to sprinkle some vanilla pudding powder over the base before topping with fruit. WHY? Because the vanilla pudding powder will absorb some of the extra juice and prevent a soggy bottom.

German Plum Streusel Cake Recipe -Pflaumenkuchen mit Streusel

Now… there are a few ways to make a German Plum Cake. My favorite is a round Plum Streusel Cake. Streusel is one of my favorite foods. I can’t tell you how often I got my fingers smacked by my mother for picking streusel off the top of her cakes. On the plum cake, the streusel is a crunchy sweet contrast to the tart soft plums. You can also bake a Plum Sheet cake without Streusel. Here’s the recipe-> Plum Cake


german plum cake

German Plum Cake Zwetschgenkuchen

Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 -16



  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon Peel
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Pounds Firm Plums
  • 1 small Package Vanilla Pudding


  • Streusel Recipe
  • Makes enough for 2 cakes. (I freeze the extra. You can use this Streusel recipe on everything but when I'm making muffins, I sprinkle some on.
  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Flour


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Grease a 9 in round Springform Pan
  • Slice and Pit the Plums... set them aside... if the plums are BIG... you can cut them into fourths, otherwise go with halves.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy... about 5 minutes.
  • Add the grated Lemon Peel... beat, and scrape down the sides.
  • Add the eggs one at a time. Beat and scrape between eggs.
  • Add the Baking Powder to the Flour in a mixing bowl, then slowly (unless you really want to wear it) add the flour mix to the butter mixture.
  • Scrape down.. and mix again
  • When mixed (you don't need to overmix) spread the batter into the prepared pan. Now... this can be a bit fiddly. I found it easiest to start with a spatula, then I rub my hands with the residue on the butter wrapper and press the dough to the edges.
  • Sprinkle the dough with a few teaspoons of Vanilla Pudding Powder.
  • Shingle the Plums onto the batter... then sprinkle them with a few more teaspoons of Vanilla Pudding Powder.
  • Mix the Streusel
  • Cut the butter into small cubes.
  • Put the flour and sugar into a bowl... drop in the butter cubes... rub the butter and flour mix with your fingers until it looks like crumbs. When you put the streusel on cake or muffins... squeeze it a bit in your fist to get a bigger crumb.
  • Bake
  • Bake for 50 -55 minutes... the streusel should be browning.
  • Take from oven ...
  • Let cool on Cooling Rack


Quick note about the Vanilla Pudding Powder. This trick comes from my Oma, and it's used to soak up extra liquid that might come from the plums (instead of cornstarch... the Vanilla Pudding Powder tastes better). Obviously, she used German Pudding Powder, but the American kind will work too. (Cook or instant) Just a few spoonfuls will do the trick.

Find more great German Recipes in my Easy German Cookbook!

80 Classic German Recipes, written for the American Kitchen.

Easy German Cookbook: 80 Classic Recipes Made SimpleEasy German Cookbook: 80 Classic Recipes Made SimpleEasy German Cookbook: 80 Classic Recipes Made SimpleEasy German Cookbook SIGNEDEasy German Cookbook SIGNEDGermanGirl Shop


Step By Step Plum Streusel Cake Photos

german plum cake

Spread the batter to the edge of the Springform pan.

Sprinkle the batter with a little vanilla pudding powder

german plum cake

 Shingle the plums in circles around the cake batter. I find that if you start on the edges it comes out more even.. then sprinkle the plums with a bit of vanilla pudding powder.
You don’t want LOTS.. just a sprinkle.

(but I still always end up starting in the middle. )

german plum streusel cake


Squeeze the streusel dough a bit in your fist as you sprinkle it over the cake to get some larger crumbs.

german plum cake

The cake is done when the streusel is nicely browned.
Give it a little shake to see if there is any wobble left in the middle (if so, put it back in the oven for a while longer).


german plum cake

You can sprinkle a bit of Powdered Sugar over the cake just before serving.

german plum cake

Serve with a Schlag of Whipped Cream. In Germany, whipped cream is typically not sweetened,

but I will leave that up to your taste.

More Traditional German Cake Recipes HERE–> Kaffee and Kuchen

German plum cake


62 thoughts on “How to make a German Plum Cake Zwetschgenkuchen (with Streusel!)

  1. I will make this version of Pflaumenkuchen. It sounds really good. Thanks

      1. Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been trying to find one like my German mother made every fall.
        I’ve baked it twice now. Second time, I doubled the recipe and made it on a cookie sheet. I like this method SO much better. The crust was more like a cookie crust on the edges, and not so thick as when I used the cake pan. That’s how my mother made it too. Also, I put a thin layer of plum jam on the dough before I layered on the plums. Two layers of plums came out better than one. I used pluot plums. They have a nice sharp sweet and sour flavor. Skipped the vanilla pudding powder, as I like the plum juices to soak the top layer of the crust. Pluots are not overly juicy. Came out just right. Second time around, I made my streusel first and put it in the freezer while I made the cake. It all went much faster that way and the cold streusel was easy to handle. Of course you can use any jam you like, if you choose to use it. A lot of people like apricot, which also gives the flavors more depth. All in all, a great recipe for a wonderful traditional German cake. My family loved it! Thanks.

        1. great suggestions!
          I do love using pluots in baking too (it starts a riot on Facebook if I mention it though!)

        2. Your cookie sheet method sounds more like my grandmother’s style. I assume your cookie sheet is small, and mine isn’t, so I may have to improvise.

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      1. You’ve got some spammers up above. Hate to see this on your site.

        1. Can you tell me where? I am not seeing them. I will clear it out

  5. Hi, thanks, just what I was looking for. Silly question, but I’m not a baker. Do you add the streusel at baking time or after a few minutes into baking? Btw, LOVE Streusel.

    1. Add the Streusel before you put it in the oven. (I used to get my hands spanked for snitching Steusel off of mom’s cakes)

      1. It might take a little longer, but I sauté the plums lightly before putting them on the cake. I use the same method with apples. It takes less time to bake and the cake is much juicier.

  6. I would like to know if you make the peach version the same way. My Mom mad a yeast dough and spread it on a one inch high cookie sheet and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar on top of the sliced peaches. I made it this week, uh the dough was thicker and tougher than I remember……help!

    1. Yes… you can substitute Peaches, Apricots and even Cherries (sour cherries from a jar)

  7. I really want to make this plum cake, but can’t figure out where the vanilla pudding is used?

    1. Ahh… it’s in the recipe, but not both sets of photos. I find if you sprinkle a little vanille pudding powder on the batter before adding the plums, and then again on top of the plums before baking, it soaks up some of the moisture.

  8. Nice recipes but that’s not how we lay out the plums. My dad was a pastry chef in Frankfurt. But housewives too lay them out differently so they don’t pucker up while baking. Slice the plum halfway, leaving the halves attached. Then make a little cut top and bottom of each half. That way the stay flat and look prettier.

  9. I’wii try to make this Cake this weekend

  10. I made the cake with my kids yesterday using plums from our garden. I think this may become an annual tradition. Thanks!

    1. Great! I’m glad you and the kids enjoyed it!
      (love the profile pic!)

  11. Has anyone used regular plums for this recipe?? I don’t think I’ll find Italian plums here in NC!! Really love this cake – my favorite

    1. I think you can… regular plums just may be more juicy.

  12. “I had to refresh the page times to view this page for some reason, however, the information here was worth the wait.”

  13. Can I freeze the cake once fully baked….I would love to make several for eating through the winter..I have a plum tree and need to use up many of the plums!

    1. yes!
      Bake it, wrap it up as airtight as possible (I find that if you freeze it, then take it out and wrap it tight, then put it back in the freezer is best)
      Thaw it on the counter wrapped up.

  14. This recipe sounds good. How much is “a little” vanilla pudding? A couple of tablespoons? A whole packet? Is there a brand you prefer? Thanks.

  15. KarenAnne, I just wanted to comment that the first four comments here are from spammers. I had a blog for a while while we lived in Austria and have had to delete hundreds of comments like those. On the topic of the pflaumenkuchen, I always turn my plums skin side up to bake. I’ve never added streusel but this sounds like a nice addition. Thanks for the recipe. (And if you don’t have a widget on your blog site to check for spammers, it might be time!)

    1. I do have a spam filter now… thanks.
      I’ll see what I can do about the old comments

  16. Made this last night to rave reviews! For my gluten free friends, I used 1 cup gluten free flour and 1/2 cup almond flour for the crust. I skipped the vanilla pudding because I prefer not to use processed foods. For the topping I used all almond flour and sprinkled it all with some raw sugar. The streusel topping did not cook like regular streusel because of the almond flour, but there wasn’t a bite left!

  17. Just wondering, instant vanilla pudding or the kind you cook.

    1. Either… American will be a little sweeter. You could also substitute a spoon of cornstarch. It’s just to absorb the extra moisture

  18. I remember my grandmother and mother making this, but they made it with a sweet yeast dough bottom and streusel on top!

  19. I would like to thank you for this recipe. I have been searching for a similar streusel cake and plum cake like my mother’s since she passed and this one hit the mark. I didn’t have plums since they’re not yet in season so I used cherries but this is her recipe. So good. Many, many thanks. I am indebted as I thought I may not taste it again.

    1. I’m so glad! THose flavor memories really stick with us, don’t they?

  20. …going into the oven now. I mixed half strawberry and half cut up plums. I remember my mom always having difficulty with a wet middle bottom but we didn’t care. Thank you for the hint… now the waiting….

  21. …. and the results are in. He says it is amazing!!!

  22. I grew up eating Plum cakes. I am anxious to try recipe. Thank you
    Do you have recipe for dumplings used with chicken soup?

  23. I got 8 pages of comments but not recipe… what does one have to do????
    Recipes looks super delicious and I would love to have them…. help

    1. There are 2 recipes on the page… I will restructure the page so they are more apparent. (This is an older post)

  24. My mother was a German Girl in America at one time. Now she’s 88. I make this cake every year for Rosh Hashonah. It’s one of the cakes of my childhood. It’s baking now and the smells are starting, making my mouth water!

  25. Excellent recipe! My German husband says it tastes exactly like his Muti’s. Tersia from South Africa

  26. We just got us a batch of freshly harvested Fredericksburg, TX peaches. They’re still firm and I decided to try those. No other adjustments, so I hope it turns out good and I can share with my neighbors.

    1. I think it will be great! The recipe for the cake part works with many fruits. Let me know how it goes.

  27. Ive made this plum cake three times. Its a hit every time. I use the Italian plums. I dont use the vanilla sugar at all. We usually serve it with ice cream. Or frozen yogurt. So good. Im not German. Im Canadian. Dont matter what you are. You will love this cake. Thank you ever so much for the recipe.

    1. Honestly… this is a cake for anyone! Tummies just know yummy, not nationality

  28. My German husband cannot get enough of this cake! Our son goes to a German preschool and I just made this for a play-date with some German friends and they said it tastes just like home. Thank you!!!

    1. I’m delighted! Have you tried it with other fruits? YOu can use canned/frozen Apricots or peaches when plums aren’t available.

  29. My mom used plain breadcrumbs to soak up the juices.

    1. yes! Bread Crumbs are in loads of recipes… you see it in Apfel Strudel recipes as well. My Oma just had her ways…

  30. Love this recipe,, I sometimes put almonds on top instead of the crumble,,, and always use the Italian prune plums,,

    1. I find that there are almost as many variations to Plum Cake as there are bakers. Have you seen this one? Plum Sheet cake

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