Playing With Plums

Beautiful purple fruit is sandwiched between moist cake and sweet topping in this traditional German treat.

Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Pflaumenkuchen. I don't think I can pronounce that, but it is German for plum cake, specifically a traditional Bavarian dish of a sturdy cake topped with fresh plums and optionally (but of course I went for it) a streusel crumble. As the plums cook they release their juices and seep into the cake below, adding color and flavor. Some recipes call for a yeast dough, but I went with a simpler type of cake.

While obviously plums are the traditional fruit choice, this recipe is adaptable to use plenty of other options, including apples or apricots.

Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute's baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.

Ingredients: 
Cake:
1/3 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk or soy milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Topping:
3 to 4 medium plums, sliced into wedges
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Recipe Steps: 
For the cake, mix together the lemon zest and sugar until moistened. Let sit for five minutes. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add in the vanilla, egg and salt and beat to combine. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix until no white streaks remain.
Scrape the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9" cake pan and set aside.
For the topping, mix together the flour, sugar cinnamon and ginger. With a fork, pastry cutter or your fingertips cut the butter into the flour mixture until only small pieces remain.
Arrange the plum wedges over the cake batter - use as much as you can, don't be afraid to layer. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the plums, covering generously.
Bake on 350 F for 45-50 minutes, until the top is well browned.