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How to Make Zwetschgendatschi

Updated on August 21, 2012
German plum cake:  a mouth-watering sight
German plum cake: a mouth-watering sight | Source

The German Plum Cake

We all have one thing or the other that will actually get us out of bed in the morning. For some it might be coffee. For others it might be Hubpages. For me it is the thought of a slice of German plum cake.

My husband still comments once in a while that when he married into a German family, one of the unfamiliar sounds he has grown adjusted to, is to hear the oven door opening and shutting early in the morning. True: we do sometimes eat cake for breakfast and we do like to store our cakes in a cold oven. At least my family does.

Thinking about my Mom's German plum cake literally makes my mouth water. I for one love plums, prunes, or whatever you want to call them. I think they get a bad rap as an old lady food, despite all the marketing efforts to cast them in a more appealing light. Perhaps this recipe will help change your mind once and for all.

Fresh Italian plums
Fresh Italian plums | Source
Italian plums washed, pitted and cut in half.
Italian plums washed, pitted and cut in half. | Source

What are Italian Plums?

Italian plums are stone fruits, and yes, they are responsible for the vast majority of prunes in this world. They are egg shaped with a deep purple color, and a powdered hue. Their skin is smooth and when in perfect condition, they feel fairly firm to slightly soft when touched.

Why give plums a second chance? They are known to be very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. They are a also a great source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin K, and a wonderful source of Vitamin C.

Italian plums are in season from May through October, but invariably they pop up on the American market only between the end of August and during the month of September. They can be hard to find, but one sure bet is always Costco. They sell them in 5 pound containers, which for once is exactly the amount that you will need to make one delicious German plum cake.

Share if you like. I don't. (For those who know me well, they know I am not kidding).

Yeast is mixed with sugar and a 1/4 cup LUKE warm milk.  Let your finger be the judge.  If the milk is too hot, the yeast will not rise.
Yeast is mixed with sugar and a 1/4 cup LUKE warm milk. Let your finger be the judge. If the milk is too hot, the yeast will not rise. | Source
Yeast, sugar and milk mixture after left standing for 10 minutes.
Yeast, sugar and milk mixture after left standing for 10 minutes. | Source

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds Italian plums, washed, pitted and cut in half
  • 2 packages rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • dash of salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup, plus 1/4 cup milk, LUKE (never hot) warm

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 45 min
Ready in: 2 hours 45 min
Yields: 1 cookie sheet of German plum cake
Yeast dough is spread out and with your hands and fingers to cover the length and width of a cookie sheet.
Yeast dough is spread out and with your hands and fingers to cover the length and width of a cookie sheet. | Source
Italian plums, layered in rows on the yeast dough.
Italian plums, layered in rows on the yeast dough. | Source

Instructions

  1. Remove egg and butter from refrigerator and let warm to room temperature.
  2. Prepare yeast mixture: combine rapid rise yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup LUKE warm milk. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In a stand-up mixer with a hook attachment and at low speed, combine flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, salt, lemon zest and egg.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine butter and 2/3 cup milk. Heat to luke warm in microwave or until butter is melted.
  5. Add butter and milk mixture to dough. Combine.
  6. Add yeast mixture to dough. Combine.
  7. Dough will still be sticky when ready.
  8. Use your hands to scrape dough off the sides of the bowl and form a ball. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 375F.
  10. Spray cookie sheet with PAM.
  11. Spread dough across entire cookie sheet, making sure to form an edge which will catch the fruit juices while baking.
  12. Place Italian plums in a single layer, all facing in the same direction. Repeat until dough is entirely covered.
  13. Bake for 45 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 cup sugar.
  15. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and let cool.
  17. Serve with fresh whipped cream.
  18. Enjoy!

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    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 4 years ago

      Great recipe.

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