One of the many reasons I love Germans is that they regularly eat coffee and cake in the afternoon (well, at least all of our friends do). I may or may not gain a few pounds after spending time in Germany simply because I eat so much cake. German-style cakes are simply fabulous! They are not as sweet as American cakes, and they tend to use lots of nuts and fresh, seasonal fruits. A late summertime favorite in Bavaria is plum cake, or Zwetschgendatschi.
Someone was super interested to see what all the fuss was about while I was photographing the cake. He was extremely disappointed when I told him he couldn’t have a piece. I almost gave in though, because… that face! What a cutie pie.
The first time I took Eric to Germany, he was kind of surprised at how frequently we consumed cake and coffee. Walking around new cities, rather than going to museums, we often scoped out the best bakery we could find and stopped for cappuccinos and cake. Walked some more. More coffee. Maybe more cake. Hey, when you vacation with a Stromberg, the main event of any destination is the food. What can I say?
My mom and I adapted a recipe we had been using online for years and created the plum cake I’m sharing today, which is a little different from the traditional German-style cake. We added walnuts to the crust, which give it a nice nutty flare. Cinnamon and sugar on the top of the cake provide a final kiss of sweetness and warmth, making this cake just divine. The plums are packed in very tight rows along the buttery crust, ensuring that no bite goes plumless. Served with a healthy dollop of fresh whipped cream, it just can’t be beat. (Side note: Germans are not afraid to really go heavy on the whipped cream. The cake has a lot less sugar than your average cake, so treat yourself to some extra calories with all that glorious whipped cream 😉 ) Not to mention, who expects plum cake? It’s so unusual in the States. I grew up eating plum cake on the regular on hot, August afternoons.
I went to an international high school, and we often did giant potlucks a few times a year when the entire lunch table became a sort of mini-international festival, boasting food from around the globe. When I would whip out this little plum cake, my fellow Germans at the table would squeal with delight.
I hope you can try out this plum cake and get a taste of a German favorite.
German Plum Cake (Zwetschgendatschi)
1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts, finely ground in a food processor
1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
6 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 egg yolk
1 lb small, black plums
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Fresh whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground walnuts, flour, butter, and 5 Tablespoons of the sugar. Mix with your hands until a soft dough forms. Add the egg yolk and mix with your hands until the dough is coming off the sides of the bowl.
3. Press the dough evenly into a 9″ x 13″ baking sheet.
4. Slice each plum in half, remove the pit, and slice each half into 4 slices. Arrange the plums in tight rows on top of the crust so the slices are standing up (skin side down). Sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon and the remaining sugar.
5. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve with fresh whipped cream.
*Note: Recipe adapted from http://www.cooks.com/recipe/ul6z47xx/german-plum-cake.html