It’s Slovak Sunday again in the Today We Bake kitchen, and I could not be more excited. When I saw this recipe for plum kuchen in the cookbook a few weeks ago, I wanted to make it immediately. With a sweet crumb cake base, a syrupy layer of baked plums, and a crunchy topping of cinnamon-sugar, it sounded like the perfect breakfast treat. Or midday treat, or afternoon treat… you get the idea. We’re pretty much on a hobbit eating schedule around here. But I decided to “practice my patience”, as I tell my kids, and wait until the height of plum season to make it. And we are here! Let the plum kuchen baking begin.
Plum kuchen is a German dish, but from what I can tell many Eastern European countries also have their own versions. This one is baked in a bread pan, with the plums halved and placed skin-side down on top of the cake base, with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. I suspect that if you halved the recipe and sliced the plums, you could spread it in a pie pan and have a more traditional-looking plum kuchen. And I admit that I was a little worried when this went in the oven that the plum layer would be too thick, or that the sugar topping too much. But by the time this came out of the oven looking and smelling amazing, I threw any ideas of making a second version out the window.
When I was a kid, I would go stay at my grandparents’ house for a week at a time in the summer. They lived right around the block from a playground, they had a huge front porch that I could ride a bike up and down, I’m pretty sure I attended more than a few church choir practices with them, and I watched the two movies that they owned roughly a thousand times. I don’t ever remember being bored.
One of the movies was The Goonies. Why they had The Goonies I will never know (they did not watch it with me), but knowing that I watched it over and over probably explains a lot about me as an adult. I like to think of myself, sitting on their orange and cream floral crushed velvet sofa, watching it and singing along with Cyndi Lauper, eating a dessert like this plum kuchen. In terms of a lazy summer afternoon, you could do a lot worse.
So now that plums are in season, run don’t walk to get some and make this cake. It takes less than thirty minutes to put together, has a simple list of ingredients, and looks incredibly beautiful once it’s out of the oven. The coffee cake base has a sturdy crumb, which holds up nicely as the juices from the baked peaches make their way into it as it bakes. The cinnamon-sugar topping is decadent, as most things in this cookbook are, and it creates the perfect crunch topping. Slice yourself a piece, sit down to your favorite Sunday afternoon non-activity, and relax.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons of butter (½ stick), cold and cut into small pieces
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Plums, halved and pitted
- Butter a bread pan and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
- Sprinkle butter pieces over the top, and combine with a pastry blender until the largest butter pieces are the size of small peas.
- Add the milk and egg, then stir until just combined. Spread in the prepared pan.
- Arrange the halved plums, skin side down, over the dough. Stir together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl, then sprinkle over top of the plums.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean from the middle of the loaf.