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  • Writer's pictureBarth Bakery

German Plum Cake (Zwetschgenkuchen)

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

This simple yet delicious coffee cake has hints of cinnamon and lemon and isn’t overly sweet allowing the juicy sweet-tart plum flavor to shine and add brightness. With a tender, light, vanilla shortbread-like cake base, a layer of fresh plums in the middle, and a sweet, buttery, crumbly streusel on top, this humble German cake makes a wonderful late summer and early fall treat. As the cake bakes, the tart plums become soft while the sweet streusel turns crunchy creating a perfect contrast of flavors and textures. Vanilla pudding powder is sprinkled on top of the cake and plums to absorb the excess juice so the cake doesn’t get soggy. Great for dessert or brunch, this rustic cake is often served in the afternoon in Germany for “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake). Enjoy this cake warm out of the oven while the bottom is fluffy, the middle is moist, and the top is crisp. To make it extra special, serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of homemade whipped cream.

Juicy German Plum Cake
Sweet German Plum Cake with Streusel Topping
Rustic German Plum Cake
Traditional German Plum Cake
Easy German Plum Cake



  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 tsp lemon zest

  • 2 Tbsp sour cream

  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1½ tsp baking powder

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1½-2 lbs plums, pitted and sliced

  • 5 tsp vanilla pudding powder, divided


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ⅛ tsp salt

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper.

  2. In a large bowl, use an electric handheld mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, lemon zest, sour cream, and vanilla and beat well to combine.

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture beating just until incorporated. Do not overmix.

  4. Spread the thick batter into the prepared pan in an even layer to the edges. Sprinkle the top of the batter with 2½ teaspoons of vanilla pudding powder.

  5. Arrange the sliced plums in a circular pattern on top of the cake batter, completely covering the batter and slightly overlapping, and gently press the plums into the batter. Sprinkle the plums with 2½ more teaspoons of vanilla pudding powder.


  1. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl using your hands until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel evenly on top of the plums.

  2. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes before removing the springform ring, then cool for another 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Barth Bakery (Barth Bäckerei) was started around 1933 by my great-grandfather, Gustav Hermann Barth, who was a Master Baker (Bäeckermeister) in Trebnitz, Niederschlesien, Germany. For that reason, we’ve started a small collection of recipes for classic German sweet treats.

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