seitan is my motor



August 2009



Pflaumenkuchen (plum cake)

There are so many recipes for plum cake. You can make it with a shortbread crust or with yeast, you can use streusel or let the plums sink in, you can make a sheet cake or use your spring pan.

Personally I like yeasted sheetcakes. They are simple, not too sweet and full of fantastic fruits. But usually German recipes for sheet cake make way too much for a two person household. Even if you are invited somewhere and bring the cake for coffee, your hosts need to invite the whole neighbourhood over to get rid of the leftovers.

A very simple version of plum sheet cake is called Zwetschgendatschi. This is a yeasted cake with lots of plums on top.

Disclaimer: Long, possibly boring German (linguistic) lecture follows:

[I apologize for always writing German nouns with capital letters. I can’t help myself, they look so wrong when I don’t.]

Zwetschge is what people in Switzerland, Austria, and South Germany call a Pflaume (plum). Zwetsche (without g ) is the technical or botanical term for Zwetschge, a certain kind of plum. It is the regular kind of plum found in Germany and it looks like this:

Datschi seems to be derived from the middle or upper German verb datschen/detschen which means “to press into” = plums are pressed into the yeast dough. Although I am not from the South of Germany, I do use the verb “detschen” as well, in combination wit the prefix ein-. It means that something has been bruised: Der Apfel ist eingedetscht. (= The apple has been bruised.)
End of German lesson.

Where I come from a Zwetschgendatschi would simply (okay, to you this might sound as complicated) be called Pflaumen(blech)kuchen (plum sheet cake). It is made with yeast and baked on a large baking sheet. As I said before, I could feed half a village with such a cake, so I halved the original recipe which I took from a German vegan baking book. I also changed some of the ingredients and added streusel, to make the cake look pretty. The cake itself is only slightly sweet. You can increase the sugar to 1/2 cup if you like.

Pflaumenkuchen (plum cake)

For the cake:
2 cups  all purpose flour
1 t active dry yeast
2/3 cup rice or soy milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 T canola oil
1 pinch salt
1 T vanilla sugar (or 1 t vanilla extract)

1 lb plums (pitted and halved), similar to those shown above.

For the streusel, I used the streusel recipe for my rhubarb cake.

3/4 cup flour
1/4 t baking powder
3 T sugar
2 1/2 T margarine ( = 1/3 stick)
1/2 t vanilla extract or 1/2 T vanilla sugar
1/2 – 3/4 T soy milk (as needed)

Confectioner’s sugar for serving

Grease a 10 inch springform pan with vegetable oil or shortening and set aside. In a bowl mix flour and yeast. Add reamining ingredients and stir well. Knead the dough for ten minutes until soft but not sticky anymore. The texture should be like bread dough. Adjust amount of flour or water, if neccessary. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size (3/4 to 1 hour). Meanwhile wash and halve the plums and prepare the streusel topping: In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, and sugar. Add margarine and vanilla. Use your hands to mix until mixture starts to form into crumbs. Add soy milk if  too dry.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer yeast dough to a floured working surface and roll into a circle. It should have the size of your pan. Transfer to pan. Carefully press plum halves into the dough. Sprinke streusel topping over the plums:

Transfer to oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for five minutes, transfer to a rack and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Serve warm or cool. If you have vegan whipped cream sitting in your cupboard, this would be the perfect opportunity to use it.

This recipe was submitted to Susan’s YeastSpotting.



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