Pflaumenkuchen – Yeasted Plum Cake
Adapted from My Berlin Kitchen, by Luisa Weiss
Luisa’s original recipe calls for 1/2 ounce fresh yeast – which translates to 1/4 of that if you’re using dry yeast. Since dry yeast is more readily available in the US, I wanted to try to make it a bit more accessible to the US cooks. It worked and I presented the cake for you. I also increased the amount of lemon zest to 1 whole lemon, and halved the amount of cinnamon to 1 teaspoon. And because I can never say no to nutmeg. I added a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg to the mix.
In my next iteration, I’d like to swap out 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour for whole wheat and see where it takes me. It might add some nice heft to the cake. Hurry and up and make this while plums are still in season!
Butter for the pan
1/8 ounce (4 grams) dry yeast
1/2 cup (118 ml) whole milk, lukewarm
1 1/2 cups (189 grams) plus 2 tablespoons (18 grams) all purpose flour, plus more for the dough
6 tablespoons (78 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 pound Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving, optional
1. Butter the bottom and sides of the 8-inch springform pan. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast and the half of the milk (59 ml) with a pinch of sugar. Let the yeast dissolve for 5 minutes. You will see tiny bubbles starting to form and the mixture will have a distinctly yeasty smell. Meanwhile, place the flour into a large bowl and make a well in it. When the yeast has dissolved in the milk, pour the yeast mixture into the “well”, cover the bowl with a cotton towel, and let sit for 15 minutes or until the liquid gets foamy. Start to stir and add the remaining milk, 3 tablespoons (39 grams) of sugar, egg yolk, 3 tablespoons (43 grams) of the melted butter, salt, and lemon zest. The dough will be a bit shaggy. Dump it out onto a floured work surface and knead it for a few minutes until it is smooth. You might want to add a bit more flour to keep the dough from sticking, but don’t add too much – the dough should still be soft and slightly floppy. Form the dough into a ball and place into the buttered pan. Cover the pan with a cotton towel and place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place (like a turned-off oven) for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
3. Preheat the oven to 350[dg]F; position the rack in the middle. Using your fingertips, gently deflate the dough and push it out evenly to fit the pan. The dough should be uniformly 3/8- to 1/4 inch thick.
4. Starting at the edge, push the plums into the dough at a 45 degree angle, making concentric circles and trying to squeeze as many pieces as you can. Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar and sprinkle over plums. Drizzle with the remaining melted butter, sest aside, uncovered for 20 minutes.
5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the plums are bubbling. Remove and set aside to cool until the fruit is not longer hot. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream, if serving.