plum kuchen

August 21, 2014 § 77 Comments


Plum season is upon us and it is time to bake a delicious plum cake!   I don’t typically do a whole lot of baking. I’m more of a savory kind of person as opposed to sweet (unless it’s a fruity pie or cake).  This is the kind of dessert that gets me baking, especially with stone fruit in season.  The wonderful thing about this cake is as the fruit bakes on top, the plums soften into a jammy consistency, which contrasts nicely with the light bready cake underneath.


I was bit surprised when I released the edge of the 9-inch spring form pan and the cake was only an inch and a half tall.  Not what I expected, but still humbly impressive with it’s beautfiully baked plums.  As it turns out I liked the thin cake, it was much lighter, a little less decadent.   Although there are several ways to make plum kuchen this recipe is wonderfully rustic and light. You could use a mix of black, red and yellow plums for contrasting flavor and color, or forego the plums and use your favorite stone fruit, such as apricots or peaches.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 1 – 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups plue 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt (a pinch)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 7 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use full fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 pounds plums, quartered and pitted
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Combine flour, 2 tablespoon sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt and cardamom in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Cut in 4 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Combine milk, vanilla and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Spoon batter onto a 9-inch (prepared) springform pan.  Arrange plums in a circular patter over batter.   Combine remaining 2/3 cup sugar, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and lemon rind in a small bowl, stirring well.  Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter either on stovetop or microwave and stir into sugar mixture.  Sprinkle plums evenly with sugar mixture.  Bake at 425°F for 35 minutes or until browned and bubble.  Cool in pan 1 hour on a wire rack before removing springform.


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§ 77 Responses to plum kuchen

  • A delicious recipe for using up extra plums.

  • Love it, gorgeous cake and those beautiful plums atop it make my mouth water. I so love simple desserts like this. Plums are so wonderful and lend themselves to so many dessert variations.

    • I love simple desserts too. It’s a much better baking experience for me to not have to fuss too much with the appearance. That is what I like about desserts with fruit. The fruit is so attractive on it’s own. No need to spend time “decorating” it!

  • Nancy says:

    Yummy…a delicious, seasonal treat! Beautiful presentation too!

  • Darya says:

    I adore anything with plums in it (even tabboulehs, salads, and savory crostini). Your cake sounds quite delicious and the pictures are gorgeous!

    • What lovely ideas Darya. I don’t think I have even had plums in a savory dish such as tabbouleh. I love black plums because of the sweetness of the flesh and sourness of the skin. Such a nice contrast. And I love Italian Prune Plums too!

  • So pretty and elegant! This looks fabulous.

  • Delicious!! I love how elegant this cake looks!

  • I am going to make this asap. I love plums and here in the UK Victoria plums are about to come into season. It is exactly the kind of cake I can share with the other volunteers at Riding for the disabled (a charity I volunteer with weekly that provides therapeutic horse riding activities for disabled people). Take care. Emma.

    • Oh good! I’m glad to hear you might be making the plum kuchen! Keep in mind it was not a very tall cake and I have even thought about making it again and doubling the cake portion. In the end I really liked the thin bottom cake. The plums caramelized wonderfully. I love that you volunteer for such a noble charity. Sounds wonderful. And I imagine it is very therapeutic for the disabled folks who have the opportunity to ride horses. Thank you Emma. :)

  • Looks magic. I’ve been noticing a few plum recipes from your side of the world lately. Funny thing is, with our rainless winter this year I’ve seen stone fruit already appear in a few roadside stalls up here! :)

  • I am still drooling over your apricot galette and now this plum kuchen. Although the cake shrank to 1.5″ I can imagine all the fruit juices has been absorbed and caramelized by the cake, making it one very luscious dessert.

    • Fae you are exactly right in your description. I almost want to copy paste it into my post! :) You must be like me…love fruit desserts….I’m happy with a sliced peach with a little cream drizzled on top!

  • I just love plums!You have made it into a perfect dessert!Looks beautiful!

  • I love this time of year with all the fresh fruit! Great recipe. :)

  • Lori says:

    This looks beyond amazing!!

    • Hi Lori! Thank you so much. :) We were so happy when we sat around the table eating this plum cake. It is a wonderful representation of summer; enjoying a naturally sweet and juicy fruit baked into a delicious lite syrupy cake. Nothing else needed! :)

  • You’re right about the sourness of the skin! I’d bought a punnet of almost black plums from Portugal recently and those were mighty sour. Even for my tastes. Anyway, I really like the attention to detail in this recipe, especially the coating of the plums themselves. As yet I still haven’t tried ground cardamom with plums – practically everything else! Including a tomato jam I’m developing. So I might have to get me some nice plums and try this one out. If I can stop gorging on brownies. Grief! Never realised they could be so good. I’m waiting impatiently for my latest batch to cool enough to slice.

    • I love the sound of “Portugal black plums”! Curious if baking them would have calmed the sourness of the skins. Very rarely do I peel the skins off fruit, however, I remember having to peel plums because he skins were to sour. Honestly, you wouldn’t have known the ground cardamom was present. Hindsight I could have added a bit more. 1/4 teaspoon was not enough to make a statement. You are gorging on brownies! Ha! I think I saw a comment, maybe on Suzanne’s sight about your brownie splurging! :)

  • hellotofit says:

    This is perfect! I have ripe plums that I want to bake with…going to try this this weekend!!

    • Oh good! Hope you get a chance to make the plum kuchen. I really enjoyed your post today. I love the concept of using several muscle groups in one exercise, and especially focusing on your core! Several years ago I was really into natural bodybuilding. I actually competed in 4 shows in one year! All in the California area. I am not a fanatic now about dieting and exercise (as you can see from the recipes I post!). It was such a great experience though. Very intense dieting! :)

      • hellotofit says:

        Wow, that’s awesome that you competed in four shows — congrats!! I can’t imagine the intense dieting and discipline it must take to commit to a competition. That is one reason why I probably won’t do one :P love food too much! Thanks for the feedback on the blog post :)

  • M says:

    This IS my kind of cakes, looks so delicious !!! I’m following your great blog now (:

  • Hilda says:

    I’m with you when it comes to desserts – fruit is best. This is a beautiful way to serve plums.

    • Hi Hilda. I love plums and they seem to get over shadowed by peaches and apricots. This really was a wonderful cake. I will make it again for sure. What a lovely hue the plums had after baking!

  • cheri says:

    What a wonderful recipe, plums are so underrated. Love your presentation!!

    • I couldn’t agree more Cheri. I thought the same thing. Peaches and apricots are the star of the stone fruits aren’t they? I’m astonished at the different varieties of plums available! I counted 5 different shapes, sizes and colors at the market the other day. Black plums were the most aromatic and soft out of the bunch. They were so wonderful eaten fresh. Very sweet and juicy flesh and slightly sour skin. We almost ate them all before I could bake the plum kuchen!

  • I have recently push myself to use fresh plums more than I used to do. They are delicious and very versatile, aren’t they? I agree with Cheri, plums are unjustly underrated! Love your cake!

  • Liz says:

    gorgeous! an upside-down-cake of sorts. I like. And from Cooking Light? Very impressive :-)

    • I have been noticing some very nice recipes in Cooking Light. Even their photography seems to be better. This cake is wonderful. I’ve been wanting to make an upside down cake…pineapple? I love the way the juice from the fruit cooks into the cake! Nice.

  • Another great recipe for all that summer fruit out there! Thank you!

  • I love plums Seana, fresh or dried, your sweet dessert is just gorgeous :)

  • It looks so beautiful!!!

  • Mary Frances says:

    So pretty! I love that color!

    • I was so surprised with the beautiful color of this plum cake! It was so vibrant and the plum peel turned the top of the cake a wonderful scarlet hue. It was pretty. :) Thank you!

  • Amanda says:

    Vanilla and cardamom are two of my favorite flavors! This looks so delicious. I too prefer savory dishes but it looks like our forays into dessert territory have been paying off. I’m definitely going to do this and/or your apricot tart. I love the presentation. Yum as always. Btw I went to a market the other day and saw green beans you would love!

    • We were commenting on each other’s post at the same time! :) I pressed send and my dialog box lit up! Can you believe I made green bean two nights ago and bought some more today? I’m hooked. Two nights ago I roasted them with garlic and cumin. It was fantastic! If you do make this plum kuchen you may want to increase the cardamom a little. The recipe only calls for 1/4 tsp. and I couldn’t even tell it was present. ;) Have a good weekend Amanda. We’re headed to a wedding on Whidbey Island…

  • chef mimi says:

    I don’t usually even click on cakes and desserts because I’m a more savory gal as well. Besides, you can’t live on cake on a daily basis, although I know a few people who wish they could! But this cake really caught my attention. Beautiful, and I’m sure, delicious!

    • Thank you so much Mimi. Interesting you said you don’t usually click on cakes…that is how I am with muffins! ;) It must be the plums that persuaded you to click! I’m glad you did, it’s always nice to receive a comment from you.

  • Such a gorgeous kuchen Seana! It is my first time saying hello to this beauty. Love cooking light recipes. Just wonderful. Will be trying this soon. So you think will work with apples?

    • Hi Sonal…Good question about making this cake with apples. What I loved about this cake was how the juices from the plums cooked into the cake and caramelized so wonderfully. I am not sure apples would do that. Maybe if the apples were allowed to macerate first it might work. Or even cooked first. Now that I think about it I love the idea of an apple cake! Pears seems a little juicier (and soft) when ripe, I bet this cake would be nice with pears…

  • Our local plums have sadly come and gone…but I picked my share and made some wonderful cakes and breads, cobblers and ice cream. Your cake is just beautiful. Really stunning colors and the recipe is one that I will keep for next year’s plums. Very nice indeed!

  • lovely lovely – just like you. Also love the fruity desserts. How was Whidbey Island – did you visit the biker bar and eat mussels – please say yes… ;)

    • :( Sorry to say…no biker bar, no mussels… I know, I missed out. But I think we’ll make a trip to Whidbey again soon. Maybe for Thanksgiving! We have spent Thanksgiving on Whidbey Island a few times. It’s so close to Seattle, only a 50 minute drive to the ferry and a 20 minute ferry ride. I’ll let you know if we go. I’ll have to ask you more information about this wonderful place you speak of.

  • Such a delicious looking dessert Seana. Sliced fruit atop a cake or tart is always so beautiful. We’re still munching on apples and oranges down here, though spring must be on it’s way as our magnolia is just starting to flower out the front… very exciting!

    • Thank you Margot. I am really looking forward to fall this year. I am not a hot/warm weather person at all! I love both spring and fall when we get relief from the heat and the cold. :) I love magnolia trees. They are so lovely.

  • Karen says:

    When I see plum kuchen, I always think of my sweet mother in law. We took her to the mountains in Bavaria where we ate delicious plum kuchen while watching hand gliders float through the air. She loved the whole experience.

  • Cindy says:

    This looks delicious – would love a slice now with my morning coffee ;-)

  • Luffy Moogan says:

    Looks delicious. My plum tree hasn’t delivered well this year, but there may be enough for this :-)

    • Thank you Luffy. :) What type of plum tree do you have? I love the Italian Prune Plums! So sweet and delicious. Hope you are able to make something like this kuchen with what you have…

      • Luffy Moogan says:

        I inherited our planted garden from the previous owner, and she had planted a Mirabelle plum: a small, sweet yellow plum. It is lovely but quite old ( from the thickness of the trunk and the lichen I’d say about 30 years old) and a bit capricious! Love italian plums – so juicy and sweet :-)

      • Oh my! How nice. :)

  • Saskia (1=2) says:

    YUM! I’d like a slice of that tart right about now please. Those glistening yellow plums look so pretty. We’re a few months away from stone fruit season – can’t wait! I grew up with peach and plum trees in the backyard, and we always had boxes of them waiting around for stewing and jamming. Wish I had such ready access to them nowadays.

  • Sp luscious!! love the glisten of the plums on top Seana! I’m going to have to try this– I’ve done a couple fruit up-side-down cakes this summer but they weren’t so pretty as yours.

  • laurasmess says:

    You know, I’ve never cooked with plums! This looks beautiful though and now I am wondering why I’ve always passed plums over for peaches or nectarines. I will definitely make this. Stone fruit in cake is absolutely divine xx

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