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

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 and home we went (with the 25 pound bag of flour and the 25 pound bag of sugar and the 8 pounds of butter… the poor Mini) and started baking Pflaumenkuchen.

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

german plum cake

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.


German Plum Streusel Cake Recipe -Pflaumenkuchen mit Streusel

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. I’ve also made this cake with blueberries (just substitute 2 pounds of berries for 2 pounds of plums) it works fine.




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

Looking for More German Cake Recipes?

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenClassic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenGerman Baking TodayGerman Baking TodayGerman Home Baking : Original German Cookies and PastriesGerman Home Baking : Original German Cookies and Pastries


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      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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  4. 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)

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!)

  13. 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!

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

  14. 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.

  15. …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….

  16. 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)

  17. 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!

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.


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